A Sign of the Times

Posted by Kathy on Jul 22, 2013 in Thoughts from ME, Uncategorized |

DSC_0153Today, at a fundraiser for cancer research, the homemade sign I carried seemed to be a hit.

On one side was an upbeat, cheery “You Go…!” message for the 1000+ women who were participating in the Tri for a Cure, swimming, biking, and/or running.

On the other side?  A simple “F— you, Cancer!”

These women athletes were knocking themselves out to raise money, spirited on from deep within their own experience or on behalf of friends and family with cancer.  Unable to do the physical challenge for mechanical/physical reasons, I helped my husband through the crowd.  His medical battle is stable at this time, and he enjoyed the excitement of the day as we watched our friends rise to the physical challenge.

The sign got a lot of thumbs-up and positive comments from runners.  Toward the end of the event, a woman around my age walked over to where I was standing.

“Can I take a picture of you with your sign?” she asked, pointing to the more direct message.

“Sure,” I said.

This woman took the picture, then came back.

“I’m starting treatment Tuesday.  Looking at this will help.”

I gave her a hug.  Later, I wished I had gotten her name, maybe a phone number.  I would have liked to visit her, keep her company some time, bring her a meal – or at least send a card.

But the moment flew past, and there were thousands in the crowd.

A runner came up to me at one point after the race was over.

“I was walking, toward the end of the race.  But when I saw your sign, I felt so psyched, I ran the rest of the way.”

The funny thing is that I was wary of carrying a sign that was so bold.  I worried that people might be offended.  It’s possible that some were.  I worried that children would see it and read it (“What does that mean, Mommy?”) and my intention was not to disturb in any way.  I tried to turn the sign around when there were kids close by, particularly if I saw one looking towards it.  One mother commented to me that I didn’t need to do that.

I’m fed up with cancer.  She is, too.

Too many people, too many loved ones, too many other-peoples’ loved ones have had to accommodate the word “cancer” into their daily lives.  There’s progress, great progress.  Treatment and cures are slow to come, but come they will.  Not that many years ago, strep could not be treated, or a host of other illnesses we now cure with a visit to the doc and a quick stop at the pharmacy.

And meanwhile, people are taking their indignation about cancer and opening their purses and making a statement.

My statement may not have been pretty.

But neither is cancer.

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Thanks to my young friend Christine for snapping this picture. 

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