Friday, July 12, 2013

Relay for Life

Hey, everyone!

This is kind of a random post, but it’s about something I really really care about- so I would appreciate it if you continued reading.

For the past 7 years, I’ve participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. I started going to my town’s event when I was 10. At the time, I knew about cancer and I knew that it had affected people in my family, but I didn’t really grasp what it was and how much of an impact it can have on someone’s life. Obviously, I know more about it now. I know more about the literal disease, but I also know more about just how much of an impact it can have.

When I was younger (before I started participating in Relay), I lost two of my great-grandparents to cancer. I was too young to really grasp just how much of a struggle they had to go through. My great-grandma was diagnosed with brain cancer in July (I honestly don’t remember the year), they caught it in the later stages, and she ended up passing away in December of the same year. In the summer of 2006, my great-grandfather (on the other side of my family) was diagnosed with cancer. Because he was taking care of my great-grandma, who was also ill at the time, he didn’t go to the doctor until after she had passed away. Since he had taken so long to figure out what the pain in his abdomen was, the doctors diagnosed it as cancer. It had already spread throughout his body and it was too late to do anything. He ended up passing away in October of 2006.

Most recently, I have had two more family members diagnosed with cancer. My great aunt (the sister of my previously mentioned great-grandfather) was diagnosed last year. Though she went through treatments, the treatments were unsuccessful, and she passed away.

In the past year, someone closer to me, my Papa (grandfather), was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma (a type of cancer that affects lymph tissue). This was the first time that I really saw the affects of cancer (in all of the previous stories I told, I was either too young to remember or the relative didn’t live in the area). Seeing my Papa have to go through chemo and radiation and personal, internal struggles gave me a new perspective. I had heard stories of what it was like and how hard it was, and I didn’t doubt those stories- but watching someone go through it is way different than just hearing about it. Earlier this year, thanks to the treatment that he went through, we got the fantastic, amazing news that my Papa is now in remission.

You may be asking yourself why I wrote this super long post. I didn’t write it because I had the urge to share information about my personal life, or because I was told to write it. I wrote this post as a demonstration of just how many people are affected by cancer.

So this year, instead of walking on somebody else’s Relay for Life team, my family decided to band together and create our own- in honor of my Papa. You don’t have to, but I would really appreciate it if you were to donate to our Relay team, Bare it All. Any little bit helps. The American Cancer Society provides services that help educate people about cancer, help people take steps to try and prevent cancer, help those who have already been diagnosed with cancer, and ultimately trying to find a cure for cancer.

Like I said previously, you don’t have to donate. I completely understand that not everybody can. However, if you can, I would more than appreciate it.

**You can donate to my Relay team, by going to my ACS page HERE, and clicking “Donate Now”.**