Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"I hate this stupid disease"

This blog is generally a light hearted place where I post 50 million photos and funny snippets into our daily lives. Something I don't talk a lot about is my job for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. The five months I have been working here have been some of the most challenging, empowering and rewarding of my career. I get to meet amazing cancer survivors and tell their stories to the media. I get to help educate lawmakers about cancer issues and the battle against cancer that our nation is currently losing (but doesn't have to be). I watched 400 volunteers march on Capitol Hill and tell their federal government that it is time for something to be done.

One of our motto's here is "empowering ordinary people to do extraordinary things." Another one, and a favorite of our president is "If one American can fight cancer, a nation can rise up to defeat it." I truly believe these things.

A colleague just hung up her phone and yelled "I hate this stupid disease." An amazing advocate and volunteer of ours, who is a two time breast cancer survivor just found out that they found positive spots on a bone scan. Yet she still wants to help us and tell her story (her story of, despite having good insurance, she has faced over $50,000 in out of pocket expenses to beat her cancer). News flash: having cancer not only isn't pretty, it ain't cheap.

I don't know the purpose of this post, it's kind of rambling. I guess it's just important for me to remind everyone that will listen that regardless of the fact our nation is in a recession (or depression or whatever it means when Wall Street is tanking), that regardless of the fact that more people care about celebrity news than real news and regardless of the fact that Christmas is next week, over 1.4 million Americans will still battle cancer this year (One in two men; One in three women) and over 565,000 of them - 1,500 a day!!! - will die from it.

Maybe this depresses you, but I hope it empowers you. I fight cancer every day. I have friends and coworkers who - literally - fight cancer every day. We all have friends and loved ones who are fighting or who have lost the fight. It is time to get mad. It is time to say that this war on cancer (that Nixon declared in 1971) is OVER and it is time for the federal government to take responsibility and do something about it. You CAN make a difference.

[stepping off my soapbox]

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