Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is over. I haven’t posted a lot on here, but I made posts on Facebook. There were a lot of impassioned voices, and sometimes I feel like they’ve said it all. There are families who detail their struggles in such great detail that I can’t always bear to read it. I feel the agony they are in as they struggle to save their loved ones, and their fear makes me feel helpless. There is nothing to say to help them. The ONLY thing I can think of that will make a difference is research. Better, more humane treatments are needed more with each passing day.
We are now in breast cancer awareness month, and I’m struggling. I have family members who have fought and won against breast cancer. I have friends who are, right now, in the fight. And as I look around at the pink, I know that must bolster them. What I don’t understand is why that one cancer has come to mean so much and the others, by comparison, so little. I read a few beautiful posts by breast cancer survivors today who seem to struggle with this same question. I am thankful for the success we are having against breast cancer. I just want us to fight other cancers with the same diligence.
Maybe that is selfish. Maybe I feel that way because my son died from one of those “other” cancers. I guess I never really separated it out until David got sick. I thought the American Cancer Society was handling it. Until we were in the fight, I had no idea how many families were losing the battle against cancer.
My family had been blessed with relatively healthy children and adults who mostly lived to old age with few exceptions. Cancer changed that in ways I am still struggling to understand.
I’ll never be what I could have been if he had lived. I’ll never be the same. But I won’t let it make me less. I have to be more. I have to do more because now I know more. I know the pain of losing a child. Of watching a sister lose the dearest friend she ever had. Of watching your friends and family struggle to make sense of something so senseless. Now I know. And I can’t just assume that someone else is handling it. Now it’s my job. And maybe it’s your job. Only you can know that. But I can tell you that we are each here to make a difference. I encourage you all to figure out what that difference is. Do SOMETHING. And if you have to try on a few different things before you find your fit, that’s ok. You’ll be helping people along the way.
We can all make a difference in some small way. The next $100 raised may pay for that extra hour in the lab that means a breakthrough. The next person you are nice to may be the one who didn’t know how to go on. Do “it” – as many “its” as you can make time for. You won’t be sorry.