I hate cancer.
I don’t use the word hate very often. I don’t hate very many things. But I do hate cancer.
I hate the doubt it puts in someone’s heart when they think about their future. I hate how it terrifies us to point that we avoiding screenings because we can’t bear to know. I hate the long, heart-wrenching journey that cancer patients and their families have to walk. I hate that cancer survivors still feel branded by the disease long after they get a clean bill of health.
I don’t know very many families that haven’t been touched by cancer. Unfortunately, everyone is fair game.
For me, the hatred is very personal. My mom is a cancer survivor. Her first diagnosis was breast cancer. Her first diagnosis was more than 20 years ago. She beat it. More than once. Today, she’s healthy and enjoying her grandchildren, retirement and life. (and nagging me but that’s another post!)
The silver lining of a cancer diagnosis is that it brings into sharp focus how precious life is and how trivial most of the things we worry about are. It reminds us to breath in each day, absorbing all the laughter and light. It also teaches us how connected we all are and how much a hug, a word of support or a shoulder to lean on can mean to us.
Which is the real point of this post. Because that’s where we come in.
My friend Todd Andrlik , creator of the Power 150 and author of the Todd And marketing blog, got some devastating news last week. His sister Tricia was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma the same cancer that struck Susan Reynolds late last year. Tricia underwent a double mastectomy over the weekend and is going to begin a rigorous treatment schedule once she heals from her surgery.
The good news is the surgery went very well and the doctors are optimistic. But I can tell you from personal experience that Todd, Tricia and their family still need plenty from us.
I cannot possibly overstate how vital and healing support from family, friends, the community and even perfect strangers can be. Todd has created a site for his sister where you can offer words of encouragement, prayers, or read more about her journey.
You can also support them financially. It’s easy to get so fixated on the disease itself that we forget how it absolutely disrupts life as we know it. Tricia won’t be able to work to support her family, will need all kinds of medical supplies and even if she has amazing insurance, will rack up some medical expenses.
Todd (and some good friends Shannon Whitley and Kami Huyse) have created several ways you can help. You can purchase a t-shirt or other items, be a part of the pixel wall (you’ll see my face and my mom’s there), just make a donation or sponsor the site itself.
Don’t worry about the amount. That’s not what matters. What matters is that odds are, your life has been touched by cancer. You know what Todd’s family is facing and how uplifting a kind word or gesture can be. We can’t cure her body, but we sure can help heal their hearts and souls.
Take five minutes and join me in showering them with hope, holding them in healing prayers and above all else, let them know that they are not alone.