Relay For Life 2015:
By Rebecca Ruehl
We live in a society that encourages everyone to get along, to play nice, to say everything is okay even when it’s not.
What do you do when things are not okay?
What do you do when you’re a cancer survivor who relapses? What do you do when you are a caregiver watching helplessly as your loved one goes through treatment that makes them sick as a dog and too tired to get up off the couch without assistance? What do you do when you hear another friend has lost their fight?
I think it’s time to get mad. It’s time to say enough is enough where cancer is concerned. Too many people have suffered and died from this horrible disease. And for those who are diagnosed and survived, it’s certainly not a cake walk.
So…. Quit saying everything is fine. Start by saying “It’s been a long road.” “I’m just really tired.” “I am so done with this disease.” “I am so PO’d at this disease.”
And then… get mad. Tell everyone you know that they need to DO SOMETHING about it. Drop a $5 in the collection can at the gas station. Support every single Relay for Life fundraiser you encounter (come on, we’re all driving vehicles that are too big so we can certainly afford this – and none of us are eating rice tossed from a helicopter, right?) Call/Tell/Visit/Email your legislators and remind them that we are at a critical time with cancer research and reducing funding for cancer research could set back progress by decades. Join ACS CAN (the legislative arm of the American Cancer Society) to learn about what your legislators are doing – and more importantly, not doing for cancer research.
Let me give you a closing scenario. Dr. Smarty Pants is leading the charge against lung cancer. He has found a gene that identifies a specific type of lung cancer that has, in the past, been resistant to chemo. However, when a specific antigen is injected into the cell, the cancer basically “eats” itself and makes the remaining cancer receptive to chemo. Game changer, right? But… his funding is reduced because Congress cuts cancer funding – and he is forced to scale back his progress. A pharmaceutical company hears of his dilemma, throws a huge amount of money at him – and guess what? He leaves his promising research and goes into the private sector where he can make millions.
Guess where that leaves lung cancer patients? In the same 15-50% survival range – instead of 90-95% which is where some cancers are now because of incredible cutting edge progress.
I cannot encourage you enough to talk to your Congressmen. They are the key to funding that makes a life or death difference to so many. When they are sitting in their plush seats in Washington, away from their constituents, it’s easy to forget that young husband with melanoma who is day-to-day in his cancer fight – or that mom who lost her leg as a child to pediatric cancer. And no one really ever calls them on a legislative vote that they’ve totally dropped the ball on.
I’m not going to shut my mouth, ever, about cancer. Why would you? So speak up, get mad and let’s beat this thing!
For more information on ACS CAN, please visit www.acscan.org and sign up. This page takes you right to current legislation before Illinois assemblymen and women. http://acscan.org/action/il.