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Today is World Cancer Day and the slogan this year is “Not Beyond Us.” We are so so so close to a cure and the answer is not beyond us. With the increase in treatments, trials, and research in the last few decades, a cancer diagnosis in the United States is no longer a death sentence.
I’ve mentioned this a few times in the past on this blog but I’m a proud two-time childhood cancer survivor! Looking at me today, you’d have no clue that I survived two diagnoses, multiple major surgeries (I now proudly have a 10 inch scar on my abdomen), two rounds of chemo that lasted a year…all before the age of 3!
I realize that I’m one of the lucky ones. Even when my survival hovered between 20-30%, my parents and doctors never gave up. This past May, I celebrated 21 years cancer-free. I’ve been given so much in life and it is only fitting that I try to give back as much as possible.
To me, awareness and research are key to eventually finding a cure. We need to keep raising money for research (as the government continues to cut it!!! arghhh!!!) and promoting potential warning signs for early detection.
Every year, I send a Christmas card to a doctor out in California who was instrumental in getting me the correct treatment. Without him and my oncologist in D.C., I don’t honestly know if I would have survived. He was a life-changer and got my parents to all the right doctors. In his letter to me this year, he wrote:
“You clearly learned and incorporated into your life an important lesson…that, once one gets well, it is important to never take health for granted, and to live each day of one’s life to the fullest!”
Carpe Diem everyone. Go encourage someone you know battling cancer or hug someone that has successfully beat the dreaded disease. Keep promoting awareness, research, and early detection. And never stop trying to find a cure!