Cancer is too common of a word

Published 9:20pm Friday, April 19, 2013

The first time I ever heard the c-word I was in elementary school. I was in the fifth grade when my mom and dad sat me down and told me someone in my family was sick, that they had the c-word — cancer.

As an 11-year-old I remember trying to wrap my brain around this foreign concept. How could your own body be fighting against you? It didn’t make any sense and it definitely wasn’t fair.

As I continued through grade school the word ‘cancer’ became a word that was overused. It was no longer a foreign concept. In fact, everyone in my classes seemed to be touched by this demon of a disease; each of us knowing a friend or family member who was trying to fight the disease, someone who had died from it and in come cases those who had survived their battle with cancer.

Cancer became common; too common. The disease isn’t biased against age, race or gender — it affects everyone.

And because it affects everyone, it is crucial that we all join together in an effort to raise money for cancer research.

In the stories I’ve heard from cancer survivors throughout the years, a common thread runs throughout. I’ve heard almost all of them say, when the doctor says the words, “It’s cancer,” their whole world seemed to change. But in the midst of the changes, there were only two choices — to give up or to find the strength to carry on.

The stories of the survivors are always the stories from those who chose to carry on and find the strength from God, family and friends, to battle the demon of cancer. Their stories are ones that are filled with moments of grief and moments of glory, and they are stories that remind us why supporting cancer research is so important.

Friday night the Dallas County Relay for Life event kicked off at Wallace Community College Selma. The event hosted everyone from babies to grandparents — each in some way affected by cancer.

While we are still without a cure, we have grown leaps and bounds in early detection and cancer prevention, and that’s because of the research dollars raised at events like Relay for Life.

I hope those of you who had the opportunity to attend this year’s event, were not only encouraged by the strength of our cancer survivors in Dallas County but inspired to continue to donate money for the purpose of furthering the cause of cancer research that will hopefully lead us one step closer to a cure.

My hope is that one day, my child will not know cancer as a common word, but rather a foreign concept that he or she knows to be curable.

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