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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Raising Awareness for Cancer

I will act as if what I do makes a difference. (William James)

In February 2006, on my dad's 75th birthday, he was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. For those of you who don't know, my father's name is Dood and he was COOL long before the word "dude" was used to signify someone who is cool.

The cancer was called Cancer of the Lacrimal sac. That's the area of the eye lid where the tear ducts drain into the nasal area. He was told that he would lose his eye because the cancer was already at a Stage 4. He had the surgery and lost his eye in June 2006. After 30 treatments of radiation in September 2006, he went back to the doctors in December 2006 to get a somewhat clean bill of health and what he heard instead was that the cancer had returned and it was in his lymph nodes.

He had another set of surgery in January 2007 and was getting ready for a second bout of radiation in March 2007 when the doctors told him that the cancer had returned in his eye area and it was now terminal. He was given 6-12 months.
In that time, my parents decided to travel while they still could so I accompanied them to Guyana in May 007. Later that year they went to England. Last year April we went to India and they made several additional short trips to the US. In February 2009, they went to Florida for a month.

All of this seems like a lot of detail but what I am trying to say is that after we got the terminal diagnosis, my dad asked me why him and having no answer to give, I said "Dad you can wait to die from cancer or you can live with cancer. How you do that will be up to you." Throughout the whole ordeal he maintained a positive attitude, sometimes frustrating the rest of us because we thought he was living in denial but I later came to realize that it was his way of coping with such trauma.

As of today, my dad has outlived that terminal diagnosis by 12-18 months and that is partly from will power and support from family and friends who have made it a point to email, call, write and visit throughout this difficult time.

I am now asking each of you to make a contribution to cancer research in the hope that a cure will be found and others won't have to go through what many of us have had to.

So, I’m taking the Challenge – CancerCare’s Challenge for Life! By participating in this “Made-in-Manitoba” event, I have committed to help reduce my own risk of cancer by taking steps to improve my overall health. I am also committing to raise at least $2000 to support CancerCare’s work on behalf of all Manitobans.

I would love to have you join me in the Challenge – either by registering to walk or supporting me with a donation. Whether you donate or not, I would like to ask you to start walking for 30 minutes each day for your own health. I hope that my 20k walk will make me continue to focus on my own health.

I am so committed to finishing this walk that I will be tracking my weekly progress in steps taken per day (1320 steps = 1 km). Be sure to check my progress and give me a pet talk if I am slacking off. The website is:
http://www.challengeforlife.ca/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=341&frsid=1204

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