Thursday, September 19, 2013

Because it CAN happen to you.

Cancer is not something that I ever thought would wreck my life. It was never on my radar as something that would happen to anyone in my family. It was always something that affected someone else. I never in a million years would have predicted that my mom would have been diagnosed with any cancer- much less a Stage 4 cancer that would take her life in two years- before her 50th birthday.

And then it did. 

Now, cancer is something I know endless information about. It is something I have researched, something I have obsessed over, something that has completely altered the course of my life. Cancer is now something that not only affects my life- but my children's. I now have to look at life my with cancer in my radar. 

And it still completely surprises me, because cancer was something that would 'never happen to me.'

My mom was 47 when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. She had no family history, little to no warning signs, and was too young to be screened. (Colon cancer screenings generally begin at 50.) By the time we found her disease, fighting it was often like taking a water gun to a wild fire. 

I will never understand why things happened the way they did, or why she was taken so soon by something so seemingly out of the blue. 

But, I do know that this doesn't have to be everyone's story. It doesn't have to be mine, it doesn't have to be my babies', it doesn't have to be yours. 

I could go on for days about the importance of screenings and early detection. My mom didn't get a chance to do either of those things- and they truly, truly save lives.

The other thing I know, is that cancer research is key. It saves, lengthens, and enriches lives every. single. day. Although, there is no 'cure' for cancer, I got two more years with my mom because of advancements that were made in the last 10 years. The American Cancer Society is doing a historic study that will enroll 300,000 people and gather information about cancer over the next 20 years. The thought of the information that can be gathered from that many people gives me chills. 

The Midland American Cancer Society is participating!! They are looking for people 30-65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer. All you have to do, is give a blood sample and then complete questionnaires that will be mailed to you over the next 20 years. Please, please consider contacting them at 1-888-604-5888. For more information, visit http://www.cancer.org/research/researchtopreventcancer/participate-cancer-prevention-3.

Do it. For me. For you. For this guy.