We all know the numbers. Unfortunately, we are way too familiar with the facts, figures, and statistics that surround cancer.
But on the day you are diagnosed, the numbers fade away. The statistics don’t matter. The percentages are not relevant. Suddenly, the numbers have a face—your face.
Jackie Myers was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer on July 5, 2009. More specifically, July 5, 2009 at 5:15 p.m. She remembers where she was and what she was doing when the doctor called to give her the good news and the bad news.
The bad news was, of course, that she had stage 2 colon cancer.
The good news, according to her doctor, was she had “an 80% chance of being alive in 5 years.”
As Jackie recalls the exchange, she reflects on that moment when the statistics suddenly failed to provide comfort. Rarely do statistics provide comfort.
An 80% chance of being alive in 5 years. Jackie readily admits that her journey with cancer has made her more aware of the magnitude of her blessings, more aware that there are those who are far worse off—but still, 80% failed to seem soothing.
It can be hard for people to connect to something as abstract as cancer research. Maybe it seems like something that lives in a lab. Maybe it seems like the sort of thing that doesn’t help “real” people.
But on the day you are diagnosed, cancer research suddenly becomes very personal. On that day, every decision about your health for every day moving forward is directly connected to cancer research. Directly connected to the research that has determined your course of treatment, a course of treatment that could save or extend a life—your life.
In Jackie’s case, cancer always seemed far removed. Of course, she knew people who had it. She knew some people who had battled and overcome. She knew others who, despite their equal measure of will, had not been so fortunate. She knew Coach Yow.
Jackie actually played for Coach Yow at Elon and even was a teammate of hers on the Rubi-Otts softball team. She loved Coach Yow and admired how she “fought the fight”.
Even at that, cancer wasn’t personal. How could it ever be truly personal until it is you?
But that is the thing about cancer. It is personal. It is very personal. It affects each of us. Our families, our friends. On the day we come face to face with a cancer diagnosis, no stats or figures can give us true hope.
Hope comes from the thought that the future will exist, and not only exist, but that the future will contain a day better than today.
That is where cancer research comes in—the search for a day better than today. A day when lives will be enhanced and extended far beyond what today’s very best medicine has to offer.
Funding cancer research is one of the most important things we can do, because when we support cancer research, we are not just funding the future, we are funding hope. In this way, we can all give hope.
To donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, click here.