I decided way back in August of 2009 to pursue a project to raise money and awareness of childhood cancer. I wanted to use my blog for something bigger. I had no idea at that time that cancer would touch my life in a much more personal way.
Nothing can prepare you for that phone call from someone you love telling you they have just been diagnosed with cancer – there is a hollowness in your chest, a tightening of the throat, a spasm of fear which wraps around your spine and squeezes until you feel numb. That is the way I felt when my sister, Paula, called me at the end of November and told me that a routine colonoscopy had revealed a large tumor in her ascending colon. Surgery and many tests later provided some relief: the tumor was encapsulated in the colon, the surgery had removed all of it, the 20 lymph nodes tested all came back negative for cancer. We were elated. We celebrated. We felt like we had “dodged the bullet.”
But cancer is unpredictable. Recently new tests are suggesting that my sister’s cancer may have metastasized. There is a possibility of more surgery and chemotherapy.
My sister is the single mother of two wonderful, beautiful teenagers – Samantha and Abby – and together they have decided to take positive action in the face of this scary disease. They have joined a Relay for Life team and will participate in this event on June 4th and 5th in Keene, New Hampshire.
Relay for Life is the largest cancer-fighting movement in the world. There will be more than 230 Relays happening throughout New England this year, and more than 5,000 across the U.S., each uniting communities against a common enemy: cancer.
Relay is a time of reflection, a time to celebrate survivorship, and a time to pledge to take some kind of action to fight a disease that roughly 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with in their lifetimes. It might be a pledge to wear sunscreen, quit smoking, volunteer with the American Cancer Society to drive patients to and from treatment, or remind a loved one to get their annual mammogram. – from The American Cancer Society –
My sister, Paula, and her daughters have pledged to raise $300 for Relay for Life – but they would love to beat that goal. If you feel moved to do so, please visit Paula’s personal page where you can (if you wish) make a donation to my sister’s team (all donations go directly to the American Cancer Society in their quest to fight and cure cancer).
Abby, Paula and me at the Lavender Farm in Siskiyou County – Summer 2009