In my daily life I don’t think about cancer. I don’t wake up and think about it, I don’t think about it during the day and I don’t go to sleep thinking about it yet it affects me and my family every day. As much as I do not think about it (and as morbid as the thought is), I’m pretty sure I will have some form of cancer in my lifetime.
Cancer is a disease that touches EVERYONE you know in some way. I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that there isn’t a single person out there who doesn’t know someone who has been touched by this disease.
I have lost three of my four grandparents to cancer. My mom’s dad (Barney Belt) smoked for many years and spent just as many years working in the coal mines in Kentucky and the steel mills in Indiana. Lung cancer took him from us on February 15th, 1991 after a seven month battle with cancer.
My dad’s parents (Gerald John and Joan Bachman) passed within six weeks of each other in 1999. My grandpa had been fighting leukemia for two years and passed June 27. My grandma was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March and she lost her battle just two months later on May 22.
My brother spent four months in Florida the beginning of that year. He went to help take care of our grandpa and then ended up taking care of our grandma too. At the end, she didn’t know who he was or who she was but at 20-years-old he was there taking daily care of her while my grandpa struggled to take care of himself.
No child should have to take care of their grandparent like that. No parent should have to take care of their child like that. No one should have to face the devastating effects of cancer and the pain and hurt that it causes everyone involved.
I am walking in the Frankfort Relay for Life in hopes that one day a cure will be found, so that when LeeAnn is 13-years-old that she won’t lose her first grandparent to this disease. I’m walking so that when she is 40-years-old that she won’t have to watch her dad or I succumb to the disease. I’m walking so that there is no chance that her children will be affected by the disease. I’m walking so no one I know will have to fight for themselves or for their family members against this disease. I’m walking so that one day no one will have to fight this disease.
If you have any questions about Relay for Life in general, you can contact 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.relayforlife.org for more information. If you're interested in learning more about Clinton County's Relay (for 2010 or in the future), please let me know - I'd be glad to answer any questions you have.