Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cancer Awareness via Simpsons humor

It was one year ago that I sat across from Cara as she detailed her cancer diagnosis. She showed off her scar and talked about getting a port. Her hands were shaking and as she talked about telling her boys. An occasional tear would appear and quickly drip off her cheek. But she smiled through it all. I sat there and held her hand. It was one short year ago that I sat there and now Cara is gone. I wrote about her journey - our journey - in a previous story on how Facebook helped Cara die. It was part therapy for me, but it was also partly something more. Sharing her story meant supporting the fight against cancer through awareness and education. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 7.6 million people die each year from cancer-related deaths. Together with the International Agency on Research for Cancer (IARC) and the Union for International Cancer Contral (UICC) the WHO recognizes February 4 as World Cancer Day, to "promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer." Because let's face it. Cancer fucking sucks every day. 

Since it's October, a decent amount of online content has been dedicated to supporting the cancer awareness message. I'm sure you've read some of the stories -- or lived through your own. It's humbling, it's emotional, it's personal and it's timely. Sometimes the stories are familiar and warm, even riddled with sarcasm and humor. Other stories are scary and painful. Some stories contain celebrity authorities and others are about celebrities. The stories have lives, struggle and even death. With cancer, there is no room for judgement and opinions. While the journey may appear similar, the fighter is alone and the battle is her own. The rest of us are there to support, love & laugh as much as we can for as long as we can. That's what I have learned. 

One other mantra I've picked up from being around cancer survivors, is that we should all celebrate more, laugh more and try to worry and cry less. It's not as easy as it sounds, but it's certainly sage advice. So here is my Simpsons' tribute to cancer awareness this month of October. Recently, Marcia Wallace (voice of Edna Krabappel) passed away due to complications of breast cancer. And Sam Simon, producer of Simpsons remains in the throws of battling colon cancer himself. #godspeed