Simply hearing the word sends an electric jolt of emotion through me. A swirl of hospital rooms and pill bottles and grim faces comes to mind. I recall, for the ten-thousandth time, the doctor telling my wife she had cancer. “It’s terminal,” the doctor said.
All of the air rushed out of that room.
The air never came back.
Last night, an hour-long fund-raising event was aired on NBC for an organization called Stand Up 2 Cancer. The organization helps fund doctors and clinical trials for groundbreaking cancer treatments. Dozens of celebrities and dozens of cancer survivors participated in the event. Celebrities even manned the phone bank.
That girl and I watched the entire event. We were transfixed. We are together now because we lost our spouses to cancer.
I found myself regularly wiping tears from my eyes. Each time I closed my eyes, I saw the face of my wife, or that girl’s husband, or my father, my mother, Kevin’s mother, and too many children.
There are weird outliers of people who have not known the ravages of cancer. An example is a small community of dwarfs in Ecuador who seem immune to cancer due to their altered genetic code. But for the rest of us, cancer is the most savage beast yet stalking us.
What kind of animal is it that drags down a three-year-old child?
After recent revelations about fraud and impropriety in various charitable organizations, I stopped donating to all but a select few local groups. It is not because I don’t want to help.
At the end of the show, Celine Dion sang a song called “Recovering.” The song was written by Pink. Celine lost her husband, her brother, and her father to cancer. Celine. Me. That girl. We were all greatly moved by the song.
I want to help.