Thursday, June 02, 2011

So helpless, but I've gotta do something...

Is there a single person on earth who has not been touched by cancer in some way, shape, or form?  If so...I doubt they will remain untouched for long.

My first "touches" were in childhood - a grandfather with colon cancer and a grandmother with breast cancer and several occurrences of skin cancer.  I was fortunate at that point - cancer did not take either of them from me.  There were other acquaintances after that - but no one I knew very well.

Then it reared it's ugly head a little too close to friend and (near) neighbor, a young mom about my age, with children the same age as mine...died of lung cancer.

"Helpless" is the word that I now began associating with cancer.  After watching this  young mother go through all the treatments and suffering - after praying and pleading and praying and pleading with God some more - then seeing her 4 young children and husband suffer the loss to cancer in the's just such a helpless feeling.

There were soon others that also lost the cancer battle - a couple of young dads in our community, uncles on both sides of the family, and a cousin only a few years older than myself.  It was getting vicious.

The next touch was more of a body slam.  The unthinkable happened when our friends called in tears to say their 15 year old daughter had just been diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.  She was my daughter's best friend and "bosom buddy"...and also cousin by marriage.  They had been friends before they were cousins (her mom-by-marriage was my husband's cousin.)  Her biological mother had been my friend, the one who died of lung cancer just a few years before.

Could I loathe cancer any more than this?

A few days before my daughter's high school graduation - cancer took her life-long, best friend away from her.  Now when she comes home from college...she goes to a cemetery to visit her.  There will never be anything right about that.  As a mom - I feel so desperately helpless as my daughter heads out the door to go visit a grave.

"Good haircut, mommy!"
And then, less than a year later, cancer touched us again.  My sister-in-law, younger than myself, is battling stage 4 breast cancer that has also moved into her liver.  She's the sister that never forgets a birthday, the one who is always so loving, supportive and positive.  The one who always seems thrilled to open her home to our large family, so we can have fantastic vacations in places like Orlando, Austin and Houston...or so we could hang out for a few days with the young girl receiving weeks of radiation treatments in Houston.  Her and my brother have a beautiful, 6 year old daughter.  And I, once again, pray and plead and feel helpless.

I'm so sick and tired of feeling helpless.  It's time to do something more.  It's not much of anything, really...but it's something.  First and foremost - I have to keep praying and believing that cancer can LOOSE!  Secondly - I'm joining in the bigger fight.

I've given to the American Cancer Society occasionally; supported others that take the time to participate in a "Relay for Life," but that's about as far as I've taken it.  Now, I'm stepping up.  I may not be able to kick cancer myself - I may not be able to kick cancer together with all of the whole American Cancer Society - but by golly I'm going to do something. 

Thus, in honor of my sister-in-law, Jennifer Cox, and in memory of sweet Amanda Joy McDaniel, I've formed "Team Jennifer and Amanda" to participate in an upcoming Relay for Life.  After the first day, over half of the goal had been raised, so I doubled the goal.  We still haven't made that goal - but I'm hopeful.

Obviously - others feel strongly about this cursed disease and the lives of innocent people it has touched.  If you're one of them, feel free to visit that team page and give a donation, purchase a luminary in honor or memory of a loved one, or just be thankful that there are so many fighting this battle.  A battle that we all hope and pray will some day end victoriously, so "helpless" will no longer come to mind when the word cancer is breathed.