The LLS "Man/Woman of the Year" Campaign kicked off this past Thursday.
There was a kick off party downtown at the Pfister. It was pretty awesome. I didn't really realize that I was suppose to give a speech though... I was imaging that all the nominees would go on stage and say who they are. I was a little off on that.
After the first few amazing candidates for the Man/Woman of the Year spoke I was called to the stage. It was a bit nerve-racking as I was going to wing my kick-off speech! Yikes! So I did and I can't believe I made it without sobbing... #winning.
The people who spoke before me talked about all of the wonderful survivors of leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. And truly - patients go to hell and back. There families go to hell and back. Kevin went through hell and back. And my family went through hell and back. I am still stuck in hell; haven't made it back yet... And seriously, this kick-off party comes at a time that I am truly worried about Kevin. I am terrified that his low platelet count, low white blood cell count, and low ANC is not because of a virus (although it most likely is) but because this bastard of a disease is back. And well all know how good I am at waiting - NOT AT ALL!
So, I couldn't help but have a slightly different tone to my speech. The cancer world has a lot of success stories and the number of the success stories continue to increase (thank GOD). But there is the uncomfortable part, the devastating part, the soul-crushing, unable-to-breathe part of the cancer world that people do not like to talk about. DEATH. People die from this disease. People of all ages. Infants less than 1 year old, toddlers, school-age children, teenagers, young adults, adults, old adults. And guess what - death does not discriminate. Does not matter what race you are. Does not matter if you are rich or poor. Does not matter if you have a college education or not. It happens. I have attended more funerals of my patients than I care to talk about. I have spoken at my patients' funerals. I have cried with parents, wives and husbands about the loss of their world. I have raced to my car from work so I could sob in private. I have cried in the shower. I cry a lot when I am alone and driving. Cancer sucks. There is no way around that. Cancer kills. This has to stop.
What I told the poor people who had to listen to my very uplifting speech (not) is that we have work to do. People are still dying. Children are dying. Husbands are dying. Wives are dying. Friends are dying. It needs to end. A cure needs to be found. A cure that doesn't result in debilitating side effects. There is so much work to be done. So much.
I told everyone that I do not care if I win this competition. And that is the truth; I don't.
I care about raising $50,000.
I would have the honor of saying what type of research this money would be funding. AML (acute myeloid leukemia) needs research. This is what I will choose. AML. I have lost too many people to this disease.
I want it to stop. So - PLEASE help me. Help me feel like I have made a difference. I need to raise 50K; I really, really need to feel like I have made an IMPACT to the cure. Please consider donating... I beg you; please.