Cancer is something I have been aware of from a very young age. I never knew my great grandparents because they lost their lives to this awful disease at young ages, many years before I was born. Growing up, my grandfather would tell me all the time how much they would've enjoyed me. He was the most influential person I've ever known, and meant the sun, moon, and stars to me. I lost him to cancer in 2005, and now I find myself in the same position he was in, telling my oldest son how much my grandfather would have loved and enjoyed him.
Jerry left behind my grandmother Leona, who has been fighting a battle with cancer since 1998. She was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, followed by multiple myoloma, and lung cancer. In the last few months, she has been on a fast decline, and is nearing the end of the time she has with us. My boys have been so lucky to have this beautiful, wise, funny, and loving woman in their life and I e been beyond fortunate to have the special time I have had with her, not to mention the best childhood memories anyone could ask for. Even better was seeing her spoil my sons the same way she did me. Priceless.
In the last few years I've seen way too many friends lose parents and loved ones to cancer. I've now watched both my grandparents slip away, the same way my mother watched her grandparents. Cancer runs in my family and the last thing I want is for my children to suffer the same heartache my mother and I have, and the same heartache my friends have experienced.
On a positive note, my mother in law Tina is the exception to the rule. There's more and more success stories now thanks to early detection, patient and family advocacy, and medications that help patients live with disease. Tina was diagnosed in 2010, and has not only kicked cancer's butt, she is thriving. She has the love and support from a tremendous village, and especially from the Bonnie J Addario Ling Cancer Foundation. When Tina was first diagnosed she found solace with many resources this foundation provides, including a support group called The Living Room. Every year we raise money for this foundation that has helped to keep Tina and others with lung cancer thriving. Even though patients are living with disease, this foundation is working to find that care to end cancer. We will be gathering as a team, Bubbles and Burgers, in honor of every flute of champagne raised and burger shared by Rick and Tina each time Tina gets a clear scan. I'm so thankful to have her in my life, but especially grateful all her grandchildren have her as well.
Please consider donating to a cause I really stand behind, even if it's just a couple of dollars. It will be greatly appreciated. On race day, I'll be running for Tina, all my friends who have lost a parent to cancer, and my grandmother Leona.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.