If we are the pins, and the bowling ball is the cancer, I am growing weary of how many strikes are being thrown, as if the ball, an indestructible Death Star with three finger holes rolling along the finely waxed lanes, holds some steroidal other worldly force. The pins are knocked violently down, the ball returns and everything starts all over again.
Without digging into a statistically futile construction effort to prove a point which needs no fortification, let us just agree that the din of the cancer death dirge hums darkly along as if written by Chopin (Funeral March), Gorecki, (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs), or Britten (War Requiem).
Since the summer I have spoken with two college friends who have been hit with breast cancer, resulting in a double mastectomy for one, breast cancer metastasized to her brain for the other. And another neighbor just a few weeks ago diagnosed. Last summer I held the hand and stroked the forehead of a long time friend who passed away only a few months after her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Normally vivacious and full of energy, she whispered “I’m so tired, Mark.” A few days later she was gone.
Being part of the cancer community, and specifically the brain cancer community, is incredibly tragic as those diagnosed, especially ones with stage IV (glioblastoma multiforme) and even more particularly, children with brain cancer, have a very poor prognosis. It’s the children that make one freeze. Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children. This is where the gloves really come off.
We lost another brave child just recently, Gabriella Miller. She was only ten. There has been an inexplicable rise in childhood cancers, with leukemia and brain cancer being the most lethal. Something is very wrong.
But with every storm comes hope for change. Last week I had the moving joy of sharing and celebrating the achievements of another brave child, Madeleine Baet, of Manassas, Virginia, who, along with her family, has joined the fierce army to slay the cancer dragon. There is Anya Zvorsky of New Cumberland, PA. And so many more. As difficult as these videos below and above can be for some to watch, I urge you to do so.
My daughters have also jumped in to join the fight, supporting efforts to find cures for cancer and helping me get through each day with love (and patience). This winter Hannah will be climbing Kilimanjaro as part of a fundraising effort on behalf of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
And then there is BethAnn Telford of Team BT who has dedicated everything to and for the children. A brain cancer survivor herself, she is an inspiration and has inspired me to look beyond my own predicament to help others. The children don’t even have a chance. Working for Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure has been a gift. That said, our CEO Max Wallace often shares that our ultimate goal is to be out of business: when we cure brain cancer.
“As devastating as it is to be afflicted with brain cancer, it is heartbreaking to see an innocent young child have to go through the same pain and suffering. This is why I fight hardest to raise awareness for pediatric cancer, especially brain cancer.” – BethAnn Telford, 8-year Warrior
HOPE. LOVE. CHANGE.
Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock video- 2.5m+hits
Daughters Hannah and Libby with friend, vintage hand-set bowling alley, Rohmann’s Inn, Shohola, PA 2008