Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why I Relay

"I wish that I could say that about you." Xander whispered to me, as he snuggled closer during our first Relay for Life meeting yesterday night.

"What's that, Bud?" I asked, all ready suspecting the answer based on what the motivational video on "Why I Relay" had said.

He looked up at me with big sad eyes and said, "A cancer survivor."

"I know." I whispered, in a throaty, don't-let-me-cry-in-front-of-all-these-people voice.

During the meeting, a discussion began regarding the worst words a person could possibly hear. Often, the vote says the three words, "You have cancer" are the most scary and life defining.

Several parents of of cancer patients and survivors, mine included, begged to differ

I think there is a group that would fight them on those worst three words, if they were strong enough, verbal enough, aware enough, or just plain old enough, and that would be the children of cancer patients.

I can't imagine the horror of hearing, "Your mom has cancer." at a time when you see your mother as an invincible, all-knowing super human responsible for your safety and security.

How hopeless, how helpless and vulnerable can one person feel and for how long? And as a child, how can they find a way to empower themselves? How can they exert some control over an uncontrollable situation when they're only in grade school?

Well, the can fight. They can punch, kick, and scream. They can go to therapy, have behavioral interventionists and long talks with family members. You can read all the books in the world and bring them to selected appointments, but none of these allows them to exert control.

What has seemed to empower them, as it has empowered me, is the possibility of changing things in the future by raising money for a cure, by advocating, by writing, or even by sharing their story with others in the same situation.

And that's why we braved the NH single digit temperature and newly fallen snice (that's snow and ice) to go to The American Cancer Society Relay for Life Kick-Off event at Pizza Hut.

Believe it or not, this one wasn't my idea.

I've dabbled with the Relay for the past couple years. First showing up in thanks and walking a couple laps and then joining an actual team, Sharon's Hometown Fighter's, last year.

I went to the Relay with Xander, Jon, and my father. I could barely walk one lap around a soccer field I once would run hours of sprints around.

Other survivors lapped me as I'd stop to catch my breath. I can't remember if they brought me a chair or not. J looked like he had me on a leash holding my oxygen. I made sure to keep him out of the pictures.

But what Xander remembers is a huge party in celebration of some of his favorite people. There was a huge picture of Andy and a booth dedicated to childhood leukemia. He played soccer with Andy's brother, Robby, and other kids brought by their parents.

In Xander's mind, this changed the face of the relay. It was no longer a charity event for grown-ups. This one was made for the kids.

It was Alexis that brought up the relay a couple weeks ago. Her fifth grade class had voted on a charitable event that they'd like to know more about. They picked ACS's Relay for Life.

I don't know how much control she had in the decision making, but the next time I saw her she excitedly told me about how her and her friends would be participating in this year's Relay and that Grandpa was going to make the booth.

I'd forgotten about her announcement until I saw a sign on Washington announcing yesterday's kick-off. So off we went, the entire extended family: Jon, Xander and I, my parents, Jon's parents, Rev & Becky and Alexis.

We had no team affiliation and really no idea what we were about to get into, but I knew I made the right decision to stay up past my bedtime when we hopped in the car and X announces, "Mom, this is a really important meeting."

He's watched me through the years use advocating as a way to show my strength in the face of adversity in hopes of making the future better for others, especially X and Lex. I'm so excited that they both took the initiative to choose this as a cause.

It was clear by introductions that we would be starting our own team with Lexi and Xander as Co-Captains. We are now, officially, The White Tigers.

I haven't heard Xander as excited as he was last night picking out who would be on his team. Relay Teams have a 15 person maximum and then they need to be split.

We've decided that we will all share a booth even if we have more than 15 teammates and we'll alter the names accordingly, such as White Tiger Mamas, White Tiger Lilies, White Tiger Cubs, etc., etc.

Lexi is more quietly excited and confident. She looked so mature taking the captain's paperwork and reviewing it alongside the Chairperson. I haven't heard her list of friends yet, but I do know the whole fifth grade at Bluff has been put on notice by their Librarian. I hope they take their interest to the next level with fundraising activities and joining us in June.

Lexi is in charge of paperwork and filing. Xander is in charge of fundraising. Both will be actively recruiting. Watch out "Danielle and the kids," Logan, Andy, Gabe F. and Mason. You are all going to be approached by X.

Both kids stated they wanted to join the relay to support me, in hopes of finding a cure. I'm excited they've found an outlet to exert power over this horrible disease that has threatened to take me from them during their childhood. I can't wait to see what happens and who joins us. I'll have more information later.

 Until then everybody Keep June 25th and 26th open. All you have to raise is $100 and walk a couple laps to participate.

No comments: