I am often telling Michele that “today is another one of MY DAYS“. An anniversary that only I remember – the days I found a lump, the days I was diagnosed, the days of my surgeries, the days that I found out that the cancer that had invaded me was gone, the days that the treatments ended.
Today is another one of those days.
First and foremost, it is my birthday, so it is a day that I share with my mom and dad, my family, and my friends. But this one, I have been thinking about for a while.
I was diagnosed with Type 2A Hodgkins Lymphoma when I was 22 years old. I have now celebrated 22 birthdays since that DAY. So half of the birthdays of my life. One of the images that I comes to mind is of a young girl, maybe 8 or 9, who I would sit in the radiation oncology waiting room with way back in 1996. I don’t remember speaking with her. I remember her and her mom vividly. But I’ve been thinking that her half-life day would would been as a teenager. I hope that she made it to see that birthday and many more.
Also on our mind these days is a dear family friend and her kids. All signs so far are good that she will see many more birthdays – her own, and those of her girls.
And sadly on my mind as well today are two families that have recently lost a dear family member from this disease after long, challenging battles. May the remainder of their days be filled with good memories of their loved ones, rather than the harsh realities of their lives with cancer.
I will undoubtedly be serenaded with “Happy Birthday” a number of times today. I am thankful to be around to hear those lyrics. Twice in my life, my birthday was shrouded by the specter of cancer. Then, thanks to all the research, clinical trials, and bravery of the cancer patients who came before me, I received life-saving treatment. I will never forget those birthdays as the uncertainty and fear that filled those days have motivated me to this day.
Today, I encourage you to think about the people in your life – do you know someone who is going through cancer treatment? Do you know a survivor? Do you know the pain and struggle of a cancer diagnosis and treatment firsthand?
There are many rides, runs, walks, and charity events raising money to fight cancer as well as innumerable other diseases. The Pan-Mass Challenge, which I will again ride in August, is raising money so that cancer will be cured. 100% of your donation will go directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s unrestricted funding. In this day and age where research funding is under attack, these funds are crucial. You can learn more about how the Dana-Farber uses these funds here. I hope that in honor of my birthday and in honor and memory of those that you know that have battled cancer, you will make a donation today. It will save lives. It will move us one day closer to the end of cancer.
Donate here: http://www2.pmc.org/profile/AS0171