We live in a result-driven society. A society that values test scores, win/loss columns, box scores, bottom lines. Results.
Maybe that is why so much of our time is spent thinking about endings. How many times have we heard “what is the end result?” or the “end game.” The end is when we get the results and the results are all that seem to matter.
But maybe, our focus shifts to the end not because of the results, but for other reasons. The end seems like a time in the future. An unknown time. A time that could be better than today. The end is somewhere that hope lives.
The end of cancer.
There are times the end and the hope are harder to see.
Katherine Peele is an architect and mother of twins. She was diagnosed in 2010 with stage 1 invasive breast cancer. At the time, it was hard to think about the end. The beginning was so scary.
She was forced to face an opponent she never truly considered personally facing—cancer. The news came as a shock. Facing her own mortality, not through the lens of her own life, but from that of her daughters—the scariest part. What would the results be? What would the end be?
Katherine is thankful for the advances in cancer research that are allowing doctors to treat each patient as an individual. Each individual receiving custom care based on their specific type of cancer. Gone are the days of breast cancer’s being treated with a generic mastectomy followed by equally generic rounds of chemotherapy. There is a plan now. A plan that is yielding results, better endings.
It is hard for many to relate to the idea of cancer research. It seems abstract. It might even seem like it only applies to test groups, case studies, destined to be written in journals and filed on a shelf. Katherine, like millions of other survivors in America, can relate to cancer research, it is personal. It is the reason she is here.
Somewhere in the recesses of all of our minds, we know the importance of cancer research. We know it is saving lives. Yet, the thing that usually eludes us is that it might be our own life that it saves. We know the statistics. 1 in 3 women will develop some form of cancer over the course of a lifetime. For a third of us, it will become personal. Too personal.
Katherine’s story gives us hope. The beginning was scary. The days had more questions than answers. But those days are gone. These days are filled with health and opportunities—to watch her daughters grow, to create memories.
The fight against cancer has a lot of days. We are now far removed from the beginning. As the days go by, research moves us closer to the end—the end of cancer. The day can’t come soon enough.
To donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, click here.