Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A wee rant about cancer


I hate reading this, hearing this.

Especially when it comes from people I think should know better, should not use these words.

If I could change one thing, it would be to banish this thought, change this perspective or lack thereof.

I know this is my hangup, it is my judgement at play, the filter of my lens.

I read this in an email on Monday.

Next week(and once a month) I will feature someone who lost their battle, not only to honor their memory but to remind everyone that we still have a long way to go until everyone diagnosed with cancer has a survival story to tell.

Every thing after the words, "someone who lost their battle", I am totally on board with.

I don't understand why it is that it is so common to use those words, to paint the picture that someone lost their battle to cancer.  I hear it over and over again and it makes my heart break and my blood boil.

I will never, never, never accept that.

I don't believe that Kelly lost her battle with cancer at the age of 19.

Kelly and her transplant donor Emily, February 2008
Laiken didn't lose her battle with cancer at the age of 13.

Laiken hanging out with Taylor Swift
Melina didn't lose her battle with cancer at the age of 10 months.

Melina at 7 months
To describe that someone lost their battle to cancer doesn't honor their memory, what they fought for, how they lived their lives.  What does winning look like?  Is it just living and breathing?  There is more to it than that.

I know this is language, the meaning I give to these words.

To say that Kelly, Laiken and Melina lost their battle means that somehow cancer won.

I can't say that.  I don't accept that and I don't believe it.

Didn't Kelly, Laiken and Melina leave us all with a legacy of love, of hope and faith?

Didn't they all outlive their own lives?

Last Monday marked 4 years of Kelly's passing.  In 4 days it will be 4 years since Laiken passed.

Melina's parents are hosting the 6th annual Melina Wachter memorial golf tournament next month  where they will raise over 10 thousand dollars to donate to The Children's Hospital Foundation for the Oncology/Bone Marrow Unit, the PICU(Pediatric Infant Care Unit)  and the Bereavement group.

Laiken's mother is hosting an  online event on Sunday, April 22  where she will donate headband's to the children at Loma Linda hospital where Laiken underwent treatment.

 "If you do not have a child that you can give this beautiful headband or bow to in remembrance of Laiken then please to have it shipped directly to me and when all is said and done and I have received everything I will be making a trip to both Loma Linda Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles to donate all of those I receive, I do ask though that if you are having it shipped to me to take to the hospital that you would consider purchasing a headband, instead of a bow, so those with no hair will still be able to wear it. I will also be donating ALL of my profits from the sales of these headbands and bows which is a minimum of 20% to “Laiken’s Shining Star Fund” at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital"~Stacey

I continue with my volunteer work for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to honor Kelly's life.  I nominated a young woman, Cassandra Perkins to run as a Woman of the Year candidate for the Rocky Mountain chapter.

Cassie and I are working together to raise awareness, raise money to accelerate cures.

These are just three stories, I know there are so many more like this.

What did cancer win?  Nothing!

Let's flip it around.  Cancer lost it's battle with Kelly, Laiken and Melina.  Let's use those words.   Language creates our world.  Let's choose the words that empower us, inspire us.  I want to live in a world where cancer loses and everyone knows it, says it.

Cancer, never wins.  Never, never, never.

This is part of a message that Kelly's mom wrote to me on the morning of the first marathon I ran for Kelly after her passing.

Patti ask this question so well.  "What victory does cancer ever have?"  Cancer never has a victory.  It loses every single time.  Kelly didn't lose.  The cancer lost.  I treasure every word that was written and it still moves me tears whenever I read it.

".we have been praying for you, thinking of you all morning as we know you ran for the first time in memory of Kell. it has been so emotional for me this a.m. to know that - to feel that - running in memory of Kelly not in honor of Kelly, yet also in honor of Kelly. Does that make sense?
Did you know she used to talk about you, a lot, to her nurses. She always told them, "yeah, that's from Ross - he's my runner." Always referred to you as HER runner. What she didn't have the physical ability to do, you did for her, in honor of her, with such resolve and dedication to her and dedication to finding something better, something to get rid of her persistent cancer. Yet it was the cancer itself that finally killed the cancer - how futile is that? It killed itself........what victory does cancer ever have? Kelly did not lose - the cancer lost.......The victory was, is hers - her body finally gave out, couldn't handle anymore chemo, any more treatments, yet her spirit was vibrant, alive to her very last breath.
Thank you Ross, for running for Kelly, in honor of Kelly, in memory of Kelly, but most of all, because of your love for Kelly.

Cancer has no answer to love.  Let's live into that, let's live for that...

1 comment:

  1. Here's to the Love Echoes that cancer can never, ever quiet.

    Love and light to you, Running Man.