For me personally, November is a testing month with regards to emotions as I keep thinking back to November 11th 2005 when my Mum was given the news that shocked our whole family. I remember at that time thinking I would do anything, pay anything, turn to religion or if I had to, do a bloody deal with the devil to have my Mum cured of a disease that robs, affects and tears the lives of families apart – cancer.
Earlier this year I was offered a two day temp role with Cancer Council WA and it was here where I learned a few things about cancer charities and what they do.
Firstly you may think that you don’t need to donate because a couple of dollars wont make much of a difference. Well actually it makes all the difference. I used to open the mail at the Cancer Council and see just how many $2 donations we would receive every day so trust me, it all makes a difference.
‘Cancer hasn’t affected me – so what?’ I used to think like that until I saw my strong Mum have her life taken away by this disease. Then I heard that one my best friend in the UK got diagnosed but thankfully she kicked its ass and beat it.
So whilst I am ashamed to admit that at one time cancer had not affected me and that giving money to a faceless charity was not on my agenda, I can tell you that now it has affected me and my family big time and you know something? It’s not nice.
I have come to realize that Cancer Council/Research is far from a faceless charity – it carries the faces of everyone that has been taken or affected and its painful legacy lives on and will live on until a cure is found and for me, it carries the face of my Mum and each advertisement I see has my Mum’s face on it, it carries the faces of my family and I repeat, it carries the faces of everyone that has been affected by it.
Where does the money go? – Let me tell you about where your money goes. it goes towards training people to man the phone lines, it goes to provide support in the way of food, medicine, treatment, nurses, psychologists, counselors, the staff that work so hard at the Cancer Council and believe me when I say this, they are fantastic, special people and many of which are ‘survivors’ themselves.
Your money goes on medical research, hospice care, home care, cancer drugs, – all the things that make this charity tick which in turn give patients and their families the support and lifeline that they so desperately need.
Why haven’t they found a cure after all this time? New drugs and modern medicine are being developed all the time. Cancer is a bastard of a disease, it is a clever disease with hundreds of factors to take in to consideration – family history, genetics, exposure to certain chemicals/hazards, risks of taking certain medicines, quite simply it is a minefield.
There are many different kinds of cancers, some so aggressive that it requires equally aggressive medicine to fight it. My Mum had the aggressive form that ‘stole’ her within 6 weeks of diagnosis, it was too late to treat her by the time she was diagnosed. However, she was lucky enough to be able to spend the last of her life in a hospice with specially trained staff to enable to her pass away pain free with dignity.
Doctors are not just fighting one enemy with cancer – there are many different kinds that make for a ‘harsh army’.
Fifty years ago a persons chances of surviving cancer would be nowhere near what they are now and that is due to the skill and dedication of the doctors/medical staff trained in that area, plus modern medicine and a thirst by this profession to gain the knowledge to fight this disease.
So please do not be disheartened that there is no cure as yet, because behind the scenes of the ‘faceless charity’ are teams of people doing their best to find one because nobody wants this disease and nobody chooses to have it.
If you are lucky enough to never have been affected by cancer then I am jealous, so jealous I could cry because you wouldn’t know the pain that comes with hearing that word as a diagnosis. The shock of hearing the word ‘cancer’ in the same sentence as your loved one.
If you have never been affected by cancer, you would not have experienced the feeling of crying until your arms go numb because no bastard is going to take away your loved one and if you cry loud enough and hard enough, and stamp your feet even, surely it wont happen? Hell, you won’t even know where you got those tears from or that you had so many to cry.
But all I ask is that when you see someone collecting for a cancer charity, give them your spare change – no matter how little it is, it makes a difference, it all makes a difference.
When did I change my mind and why? I will tell you – I changed mind on the 11th November at 11.01am as Big Ben chimed to mark Remembrance Day, when I hugged my Mum on her hospital bed as she had just been given the news that cancer had indeed decided to become ‘part of our family’ and completely uninvited.
Quite simply, I changed my mind when I lost my Mum to cancer.
This status is dedicated to the following:
The cancer charities, the oncologists, doctors, nurses, specialists – everyone that fights so tirelessly to find treatment and a cure for this disease.
To the champions that beat this bastard and keep smiling along the way and prove that modern medicine and cancer research not only works, but is pretty damned awesome as well.
And finally to my Mum, Avice Stocken who lost her 6 week battle to cancer on 26th December 2005, but put up a damn good fight along the way.
Samantha Rose (c) copyright 2012