Sunday, June 1st, is National Cancer Survivor Day. Just when you thought all the days of the year were taken up by obscure organizations, this day has been around for 17 years.
The purpose of the name day is to honor those you know who are living with cancer or who are in remission. Around the country, groups of people get together to do fundraisers and to raise money for education, research, and medical assistance for those without insurance. On Sunday the Noreen Fraser Foundation will be “cycling to survive” at a spin class led by celebrity trainer and instructor Lacey Stone at Flywheel Sports in Los Angeles. The money we raise will go towards women’s cancer research.
Did you know there is also a National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day? Of course, I never knew about either day until I was struck with cancer. Even though these days exist, very few know about them – including individuals with cancer. Why?
Because the media’s focus on women’s cancer is always about early detection and how to prevent getting the disease in the first place. Most people do not even know what metastatic cancer is. Why? Because it is largely ignored by science, and therefore, there is very little to report. Women with metastatic cancer are largely viewed as a lost cause, because by that point, the cancer is incurable.
Cancer becomes metastatic when it leaves the original site and latches on to another part of the body. For instance, I was first diagnosed with breast cancer originally, but then my breast cancer moved into my bones and now my liver. It is now in my bloodstream scurrying around looking for another organ to invade.
Cancer is a huge nut to crack. It is insidious; it outsmarts chemo and any other way you try to kill it. The only way to beat it is to get it early. And if you get it early, existing drugs can often squash it.
But those of us with metastatic cancer are out there fighting to be heard, and we will be heard. I am focusing a good deal of my attention now on the government. It’s plain and simple: We need money to research those of us who are considered lost causes. We need individuals like you to support foundations like mine who are on the front lines fighting for the development of new drugs that can keep us alive. It was accomplished in the case of AIDS, and I will keep working until it is accomplished for all of us living with cancer.
Until then, use your free time to go to concerts. I went to see Billy Joel at the Hollywood Bowl last night, and my spirit is flying. The piano man’s voice is the same at it was in the 70s. He rocked the crowd last night.
“You may be right. I may be crazy, but I just may be the lunatic you’re looking for.” – Billy Joel.