Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Can we help beat cancer?

When Katie from Sluiter Nation said she wanted to Write away cancer, it struck a chord with me. When I was in 8th grade, one of my classmates lost her 8 year old brother to leukemia. When I was in high school, it took one of our classmates. Before I was 20, three of my closest friends were motherless because of breast cancer. In my first three years of teaching, I watched two of my high school students bury their parents.

Seriously? Cancer sucks.

We need to cure cancer. We don't just need to cure it, we need to wipe it off the face of the planet. We need to stop it from ever existing in the first place, so that it doesn't even need to be cured.

But until we do? We need prevention and early detection. We need quality research into what causes cancer and legislation to get rid of it. We need quality healthcare and support for patients and their families.

Sometimes I feel like I can't possibly make a difference in all this, like the actions I take are just to make myself feel better. Maybe. Maybe. But today, I feel like if I'm doing what I can, that's enough.

So what can we do?

  1. Donate to The American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen foundation, or your local cancer center or hospital (or if you can't afford it, at least click and click).
  2. Volunteer for either of the organizations mentioned above, or any clinic or advocacy group in your area.
  3. Participate in an event. I've never been to Relay for Life, but Race for the Cure was an inspiring, life affirming celebration of survivorship.
  4. Advocate for the issues. There are several great sites where you can get started
  5. Keep talking and writing and learning and teaching. Who knows if someday one of my former students or even my daughter will be the one with the science genius to end cancer. I can't give it to her, but I can show her what matters and hope that when the time comes, she'll use whatever she's got for good.


  1. It's hard to think about curing cancer because of the scope of how many different types there are. Super hard to think about. But I think we've got to always think big, you know? Because cancer sucks no matter what type it is.

  2. This is so wonderful. Really. I know it seems daunting, but we have to start somewhere. And somewhere has to be here. In our space with what we have. Our words.

  3. So daunting. And, yeah, even more daunting because every type of cancer has different rules. But we do what we can. We think big and start small.

  4. Well said. I've seen so many people hurt by cancer. We can all do a little to help out.

  5. I was told growing up that they won't cure it because of money. I don't know if I believe it. I've watched my dad survive two bouts of it and thankfully be okay. I hate what it has done to him though. Thank you for posting about it. We, as people, need to be more and more vocal.