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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Phantasma Relay for Life

This is a repost from my Relay for Life page. I was surprised how hard it was to write it. Anyway, I've joined the Phantasma team for the Gwinnett County, Georgia Relay for Life, a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society. Phastasma is being captained by Ishy, and is being coordinated by TechnoChicks.

Here's why I'm doing Relay for Life. I'm not begging for money here; this is only intended to get people thinking.

Why Relay for Life?

Days before my wedding in 1996, my grandmother's younger sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Neither she nor my Aunt Odette could be there when I was married. Aunt Dot was a widow: she lost my Uncle Joe to lung cancer a few years earlier. Her cancer did finally go into remission, but returned with a vengeance. We thought she had beaten it, but this time her brain, liver, and breasts were all affected, and she died soon after her initial collapse. I still remember the shock when my sister and brother told me; I was numb for days.

Then, just a few years ago, my grandmother came to visit us for Christmas. The day after Christmas, she said the words you never want to hear: "I have cancer." Grandma Lucy was a strong woman who was healthy her whole life, a woman who went on a mission trip to Romania working with orphans and a pilgrimage to the Holy Land after my grandfather died. How could such a woman have cancer?

She did, though: breast cancer, just like her sister. I thank God that my aunt, uncle, and cousins were able to move her to Pennsylvania and care for her until her death, surrounding her with the love of family and giving my cousins the chance to know her as I did.

I've known so many people who have struggled with cancer; too many of them have lost their fight. As a teenager, I watched my neighbor Betty die of lung cancer. Just a year ago this month, my friend Lisa had breast cancer surgery. Lisa's doing great, but while she was fighting breast cancer, her mom lost her own battle with breast cancer.

And if not for the grace of God and the miracles of medical science, I would never have met Michelle, a wonderful woman and one of my closest friends, a thyroid cancer survivor.

I want to see an end to cancer during my lifetime; I don't want the threat of cancer looming over the next generation. By participating in Relay for Life, I have an opportunity to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and support the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission.

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