Their shapes and sizes are different. Their voices do not sound the same. Their lifestyles are as diverse as diverse can be. Their ages are not part of the equation. Their place in life is not of concern. Cancer doesn’t care, it attacks anyone, anywhere, anytime. Yet, these people, their message is similar. Their message is strong. Their level of resiliency is elevated beyond most of our comprehension. Their sense of thankfulness is undeniable. Their sense of being blessed is apparent. Their sense of concern for those around them, even in their time of need, is truly selfless. Their message is inspiring and humbling at the same time. They are cancer patients, cancer survivors.
These two days are honestly two of my favorite days of the year, let alone the baseball season. It’s the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. The telethon ends tonight, but the need for funds doesn’t end. Progress is being made and in this field progress costs money. You can support this tremendous cause a number of ways. You can call 877-738-1234. You can text KCANCER to 20222 for a $10 donation. You can visit the Jimmy Fund website @ http://www.jimmyfund.org/eve/event/redsox-radio-telethon/default.html.
I think of my friend Joe Hubbard who passed away earlier this year. He battled cancer, and even though he’s no longer with us on earth, I still think he won. Joe got more out of his day-to-day life, even with cancer, than most of us get in 50 years. Virtually everyone who came in contact with Joe was better off for having met him. He won.
I think of my Aunt June who passed away two and a half years ago. She battled cancer too. To look into her eyes at any time during her battle would show you that she had, and was, getting more out of life than most of us. She had Gods pure love sparkling in her eyes, always. She had a face that would rather smile than anything else, always. She won too.
I think of my cousin Gayleen who passed away less than a month ago. She battled cancer as well. She was 43 years old, a year younger than I. We grew up together at family get togethers and over Holidays. I’m so fortunate to have been able to visit with her just three weeks before she passed. I know she won because today she’s enjoying heavens perfection while I write this from an imperfect earth.
Since yesterday morning I’ve been listening to WEEI in the car or online. I watched the Red Sox game on NESN last night, and I will watch tonight. I’ve listened to the doctors, the patients, the survivors, the nurses, the families, and even the players, talk about this disease.
The stories are powerful, true, and nothing short of amazing. Yet, to hear these folks, who are, or who have been in a fight with cancer, tell their stories is humbling. My worst day is nothing compared to the days, or even single hours, that these people have lived through. They’ve lived these moments many times over, and over, and over. And we have our bad days like it’s a big deal. It’s not a big deal at all. Perspective is healthy, it’s real.
I think of my friends and family, those who have battled cancer in any way, shape, or form. I’m sure there are more people around me that have battled and I’m not aware of it. There’s a lot of success stories, more than ever. There are a lot of stories that still end too soon. Roughly 1.6 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012. More than 1,500 people in the United States will die from cancer each day this year. There’s work to be done.
Give if you can. Listen if you want. Understand if you care. Know that these are real stories. They happen every day. Somewhere around 182 people will have their world turned upside down by being diagnosed with cancer in the next 60 minutes. 182 new people every hour of every day this year. Please help if you can.