Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's Just not Right!

I just got back form my nephew’s wedding in upstate New York – over nine hours of driving away counting thunderstorms and traffic jams. It was a great deal of fun, and a good chance to catch up with my widely dispersed family. It made me think again how fortunate I am to have survived cancer seven years ago. Only by surviving was attending the wedding, as well as so many other great memories I have, even possible. It also made me think about people who are not as fortunate.

One of these was a 20 year old friend of a former TNT teammate. She had leukemia and died recently after a horrific experience with graft vs. host disease following a bone marrow transplant. For the privacy of her family, I will call her “Jane”.

Jane was a beautiful and active young woman who never will have the opportunity to live her life fully. She was so young. Now, if you are 15 or so, you think 20 is pretty old, but if you are older than that, you know if really isn’t. And if you are closer to my age, you know how young this is, and how little of your life you have had a chance to live by this point.

I don’t know Jane, so I cannot say for sure what she had and hadn’t a chance to experience in her life. I know that she experienced the love of her family, now feeling pain I cannot truly imagine. But did she ever have a chance to finish college? To fall in love? To have children? To pursue a career she loved? To fully develop her passions and talents? To help others? To travel and see amazing things? To go to her children’s graduations and dance at their weddings? To have grandchildren?

A 20 year old cannot possibly experience all of these things. Probably she can, at best, only experience a few of them. And it simply is not right that this disease we call cancer can rob a young person of all these things, of her life, and to leave her grieving family and friends wondering “why?” and “what if?” It is just not right!

No matter how much each person participating in the war against cancer has done, it is not enough, individually or collectively. Not when we have 20 year olds with so much of their life ahead of them losing their future in such a painful and awful manner.


Elayne said...

The highlight of my summer was to dance with my son at his wedding. I too, pray that we someday soon will not have to worry about weather or not we make it past 20, 30, 40, 50 and on... and that we all can one day dance!
elayne 2x survivor

Racn4acure said...

Well said, my two-time survivor friend! It is often the "little" things we remember because in reality, they are not little, but big. Maybe my little highlight of this year was my 2 year old granddaughter singing happy birthday to me last month. :)

We will all cheer and dance on that day, Elayne! Art

Katie said...

Hey Art!! Great post, as usual. We're all very lucky there are people out there like you who spend their life trying to change the world. An inspiration to us all! At 28, my mind is already flooding with things a 20-year old would miss. But hopefully not for too much longer ...

Still catching up on the rest that I've missed over the last few months!

TNTcoach Ken said...

Ah yes, we are truly blessed and the battle continues against this devastating ailment.

Racn4acure said...

Thanks Katie. I appreciate that. Yep, 20 is so young. Who knows, maybe she would have discovered a cure someday if she had lived.

Amen, Ken. We are indeed blessed.