(Blog Update 1/12/2012: SHARE YOUR STORY. I’ve received so many emails from folks who wish to share their experiences as cancer patients or caregivers that I chose this blog page I had written about Cancer Awareness Months to offer a place to share and comment and support each other. Please keep your commentary short and concise so we can encourage folks to read and reply. I’ll start by commenting below and hope it inspires everyone to participate and promote this page. Thank you and I wish you good health. Peace.)
There are so many different types of cancers (over 100) and there is such a need for continuous fundraising to increase our research and find cures to eradicate these malignancies from the human experience, that almost every month of the year highlights certain cancers for their focused awareness.
September is a biggie for me and my wife Jacqui. It is Leukemia Awareness month and she is a courageous survivor of that disease and in remission now for two and a-half years. Her medical journey was such an amazing life celebrating experience that it inspired me to write my memoir – Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot – and share her magical story with the world (along with my film career tales…and yeah, a crazy and uniquely fun and romantic combo!)
She participated in a cutting-edge national clinical trial at the healing mecca of the City of Hope, located in Duarte about 20 miles northeast of Los Angeles, which is one of the very best healing centers on our planet. Kudos to all who work there and especially their hematology oncology department headed by – in my opinion and recognized by most in the medical world – one of the greatest “transplanters” in the universe. His name is Dr. Stephen Forman…and yes, he was Jacqui’s healer.
September is also very personal for me as it is also Prostate Cancer Awareness month. I was diagnosed with this cancer in early 2010 and though it was a complicated journey, by that summer I was in remission and very grateful for that outcome. For men, it is the second leading killer after lung cancer.
September is also Lymphoma Awareness month and I send a special shout-out to my cousin Albert in Brooklyn who just completed a challenging 3-month chemotherapy lymphoma treatment and all early signs are pointing to his healing. Bravo Al! And I’m also cheering for my cinematography buddy Geoff who battled and won his war against esophageal cancer. Bravo Geoff but you’ll have to wait for your designated awareness month next April!
September is quite a busy month for the cancer world…it is also Childhood Cancer Awareness, and Ovarian and Gynecologic Cancer Awareness, and Thyroid Cancer Awareness. We worry about a bird flu pandemic coming to America? In my opinion, we got a pandemic right here called cancer! Almost everyone knows someone who had it, is battling it, or passed away from it. The National Cancer Institute reported more than 1.5 million new cases diagnosed in the U.S. in 2010…and I was one of them!
Indeed, every month should be cancer awareness month. So I say we go for the lavender ribbon for General Cancer Awareness each and every month. We desperately need to come together and conquer cancer which is growing by leaps and bounds. They are predicting a 50% rise in the next 20 years. No one has a clue why some get it and why the rest don’t. In my layman opinion, they will discover some day that it was something in our environment…our foods…our water…our air! It’s got to be something so many are exposed to. The toughest question I needed an answer to when Jacqui got ill was: “Why did she get this?” and the answer was: “We don’t know!”
We have to eventually know! It is the only way to beat it. I am well aware this is a tough time economically for America but I implore all who read this to give something to cancer today: $100 or $25 or $10 or if all you can afford is $1 then give that. If you can donate blood to any hospital or cancer center, pick up the phone and go do it. If you can be a bone marrow donor, go volunteer to do that (it’s real easy to be tested) and you can read how at www.cityofhope.org which has a list of donor qualifications for most hospital protocols.
To all who are presently battling cancer, we send a big huge HELLO from Jacqui and I and the love and strength to fight on and win your remissions. We dared to dream of our healing, and our dreams came true. May all your healing dreams come true!
And to the rest of us, make September special of your cancer awareness.
Lavender ribbons to all!