Sunday, April 15, 2012

Glimmer of hope

I attended the second annual Rocky Mountain Blood Cancer Conference yesterday at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz medical campus.

I sat in on a presentation given by Doctor Nathan Fowler from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center on NHL(Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma).

At the beginning of his presentation Doctor Fowler talked about a process where cancer cells become immortal.   Basically, damage occurs to a cell and the instructions that tell the cell to stop growing or to die is broken.  You can read more about this by clicking here.

Fascinating information, much of it way over my head.

Doctor Fowler shared in interesting story about a chemotherapy drug(Bendamustine) that was developed in East Germany in 1964 and was ignored for almost 40 years because of a belief that nothing good could come from East Germany.

At the end of presentation Doctor Fowler began a Q&A session with the audience in the hall.  This is what really struck me.  There were so many people in the hall that were aching for answers.  Am I following the correct protocol, should I continue with my maintenance protocol.   What other options could I pursue.

I was scheduled to take Doctor Fowler back to the airport at 12:00.  He patiently answered every question, talked to every survivor and their family members.  They asked him hard questions, looking for confirmation, looking for a glimmer of hope.  

Some of the questions were not easy to hear.  "Am I going to die?", "What will happen if I stop my treatment?"

These people are fighting for their lives and they want answers.  They want to be heard and understood.

We finally left for the airport at 12:35.  Doctor Fowler talked to every person that had a question that needed an answer.  I think they felt heard and understood.  Don't we all yearn for that?

In between trips to the airport, I talked with the executive director of the Rocky Mountain chapter.  Rebecca told me, "We have to do more than what we are doing.  These people are fighting for their lives."

Every person on staff for the Rocky Mountain chapter and the board members are committed to this fight.  We are "relentless for a cure" and yet we are all left with a void to fill.  We have so much more to do.  There is so much at stake.  These are real people, with hopes and dreams and they need our help.

For me in this moment my glimmer of hope rests in the arms and the hearts of the men and women who are raising awareness and money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as candidates for the Man and Woman of the year.  Standing for possibility, a world without cancer.  

Fighting for a world without cancer for Jack and Taylor

Being told no, when asking people to give and being unstoppable in the face of that no.  People's lives are at stake.

At the Light the Night walk's one of the theme's is:  Hope doesn't flicker, it floats.

The biggest glimmer of hope that I have is when I see young people step forward and stand for something in the world.  Determined to make a difference, touch a life, change a life.

Cassandra standing for Taylor and Jackr
Cassandra is 15-years old, determined to make one person's life better.   This young woman inspires me and gives me hope every day.   She is a champion for hope, for change, for a better world.

Far beyond a glimmer of hope, what else is possible?

1 comment:

  1. Hope and a heart full of love are powerful tool, Ross. The best ones we have !
    Happy Sunday to you, Running/Walking on Coals Man !