I’m in Washington DC with my daughter Elizabeth Anne, to participate in the 2012 Call on Congress – Fight Colorectal Cancer. My event packet states, . . . guaranteed to empower and exhilarate you, as well as make a big difference in the lives of others living with, and at-risk for, colorectal cancer. For the next few days I will learn from fellow advocates – how to get more involved with “Fight Colorectal Cancer.” Tonight was about having fun with Liz and some of her friends – survivors who laugh and share stories about how they play the cancer card!
Their stories are raw, horrific, funny, sobering, informative . . . they live with cancer. Little or no hair left. Or hair that grew back thick, darker, different. Table conversation could be uncomfortable for outsiders but for tonight’s group it was no big deal to quiz each other about their colostomies, whether or not they still have a “port” implanted in their chest for chemotherapy treatments, and “did your cancer spread to other parts of your body?” And then laughter erupted when the “cancer card” stories began – those times when there is no other explanation for forgetting the dog’s vet appointment, why food tastes weird, and a spontaneous road trip to see a friend who lives in another state. All bases are covered with a simple statement, “I have cancer, don’t you know.”
The three Baker sisters lost their father to colon cancer. Marsha Baker is now the full time director of the Steve Baker Colorectal Cancer Alliance (www.sbcca.org) – Conquering Colorectal Cancer. One Conversation at a Time . . . . Steve Baker Colorectal Cancer Alliance is a non-profit organization committed to advocating the importance of early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer.
Pam Darby Seijo, S4 colon cancer survivor, has been on chemotherapy treatment for ten plus years. When she was 39 years old she was given a little one a year to live. Ten years later she is walking the cancer journey. Since she retired from Raleigh County Board of Education she and her husband spend a lot of time doing volunteer work for cancer causes. Her favorite quotes are Walk in Faith, not in Fear and Live life daily like there is tomorrow.
Rose Kimmel Hausmann and her husband Eric, organize fundraising events – horseshoe contests, softball tournaments, and fabulous food get togethers (every item sells for $1). All proceeds go to Fight Colorectal Cancer. I met her son last night; his sweatshirt read, “Life Life Strong”. Take a look at this web page for more information (http://www.friendsofrose.org/)
I know we all live with the idea of death. None of us gets off the planet alive. We have many things to consider every day. Our families. Our causes. Our jobs. Our personal needs – picking up cleaning and shopping for groceries. But I get the impression that my daughter and her cancer-survivor friends who bear the physical and emotional scars of their cancer journey, handle each moment with a tad bit more care and appreciation. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here in their midst.
Rose, Liz, Pam and Baker Sisters