My mother, Geri, died in 2002 after losing her battle against Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer). At the time, LIVESTRONG was still in its infancy; we didn't know anything about it or what they could have done for my mother and our family. I'm Geri's youngest son, and I was only 25 at the time...far too young to lose your mother (and at 55, she was far too young to lose her life). I grew bitter and angry. But most of all, I believed that Cancer was unstoppable and there was little that I could do to prevent a similar fate for anyone else.
My brother, Steve, was the first to support LIVESTRONG. He lost some weight, was much more active and he believed he could make a difference. The organization was a good fit for him. I supported him, of course, but I wasn't very active at first. But that all changed in 2008 when Steve was diagnosed with cancer himself: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). That's when I, too, took up the LIVESTRONG Banner. Admittedly, it was because it was all I felt I could do. In hindsight, I should have been supporting the organization from the moment I heard their name.
LIVESTRONG is different. One of the most common comments I hear is that "they don't fund medical research". That's true, they don't. If that's your thing, there are plenty of other great organizations that do. But what good is all that research if early diagnosis isn't even a consideration? The most important aspect of LIVESTRONG is that they focus on education. For example, did you know that there are many types of cancer (like Kidney Cancer) that won't show up on a blood test until it's too late? A different type of screening, like a simple Ultrasound, is sometimes more appropriate. With knowledge like that, early discovery is possible and we can beat this thing. But that's just one example. LIVESTRONG is also about balancing your quality of life with your fight. For example, they sponsor a program that helps women harvest their eggs in the case where a procedure might render them unable to have children normally. Or LIVESTRONG will fight with your insurance company or your mortgage company to help you make ends meet in the end. The fight for your life shouldn't mean fighting to having to choose between food and shelter.
These are very real issues and this is why I support LIVESTRONG: Because not everything can be fixed with more research. Sometimes, a Human approach is all we need.
LIVESTRONG is just Human.