In America alone, there are over 12 million people living with a history of cancer. 12 million people understand the immensity and complexity of the feelings that arise when they hear the words “you have cancer.” They have lived through the rounds of doctor appointments, treatments, conversations with loved ones and the mixture of fear and joy that comes with remission. Along with the many lives that cancer has taken from us, the survivors inspire researchers to work towards a better way to treat cancer. On June 2nd, cancer survivors, family, and friends came together to acknowledge National Cancer Survivor Day.
National Cancer Survivor Day is a celebration of life – an affirmation to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful and productive. The outcomes the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation is working towards will not only eliminate the devastating side effects of many traditional chemical and radiation therapy treatments, but also provide for a better quality of life after treatments.
So many people would think that the fight against cancer is won in cancer remission. Not so! Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Some of the numerous challenges survivors and loved ones face include access to cancer specialists and new treatments, denial of health and life insurance coverage, employment problems, psychological struggles, strain on personal relationships and worse yet, a constant fear of recurrence.
Cancer survivors have fought and won a battle that most of us cannot begin to imagine. These people are here to share their stories and to tell the world that while their cancer is now in remission, cancer has left an infinite mark on their lives. Cancer survivors hold a unique power to change us with their stories – to share with us the hardships of treatment and why something in the cancer process needs to change. It is these stories that drive research. It is these faces that ignited the passion of John Kanzius during his own treatments. These are the Faces of the Fight that inspire the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation to drive the research forward every single day.
Knowledge, hope, and inspiration can help us find a better way to treat cancer.
Since January, thousands of our supporters voted and donated to make the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation number one in the Lester Smith Pink Well Challenge. Votes poured in via Twitter, Facebook and email. To win the Pink Well Challenge means more than receiving accolades and money; it shows that the Kanzius mission has a rippling effect. We have used a wave as a metaphor for the momentum that the Kanzius Foundation has been gathering for the past several years. To receive this recognition means that people have heard our message, understood it and believed in the hope that this treatment offers…inspiring them to share it with others – and that means everything in the world – more than any amount of money we could receive.
With the funds from the Lester Smith Pink Well Challenge and your generous donations and participation, we hope to add even more survivors to those celebrating National Cancer Survivor Day in the future.
MARK A. NEIDIG SR. is executive director of the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation (MNeidig@Kanzius.org).