Friday, September 9, 2011

Why I am helping with Lottes of Love

This guest post is written by Cynthia Mikesell. She is a mother of 3 boys, two of whom attend Thomas Edison Charter School where Charlotte taught before her diagnosis. She has a degree in Educational Interpreting for the Deaf and has worked in that field for over 10 years. Currently she is a stay at home mom who is dedicating herself to helping with the organization of events for Lottes of Love.


I've been thinking of the post Charlotte wrote last week about her experiences at the Cancer Treatment Center while receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatments.  Then this morning while I was doing some housework with the radio blaring there were two separate songs played in the time it took me to clean the bathroom that were about receiving a cancer diagnosis and living every moment like it was your last.  And I realized that being diagnosed with cancer is becoming so prevalent in our society that most of us know at least 1 person who either has just received a diagnosis, is fighting it or is in remission.  I know that I can think of over a dozen friends, neighbors, teachers, or family members who are either fighting or have lost their battle with cancer.  I'm sure you can too. . .  That's when I start to feel overwhelmed.  

Cancer is big. Cancer is scary.  When I start to focus on how big and how scary it is I start to feel helpless.  Nothing I can do will heal the bodies of any of the individuals Char has met at her treatments or the people the music stars are singing about.  That thought both frightens and saddens meSo what can I do?

I've started to feel that giving to some foundation who is doing research is all well and good and maybe the easy way out to feel like I'm doing something or have done something. In the past I've supported the American Cancer Society, the Pink Ribbon Campaign, and the Huntsman Cancer Center.  But I've learned through Charlotte's journey that most of those foundations aren't really designed to help those who are diagnosed. They are researching and doing clinical trials but the patients still have to find a way to pay the astronomical costs associated with the experimental medications. Which makes me start to feel helpless again. When I give to the big research foundations most of my money is going to researchers and scientists. 

I agree that what they are doing is important work. It is necessary work. I hope and pray that one day they find a cure. However, more must be done to care for financial needs of  those who suffer from this devastating disease now. To get the treatment they need as early after diagnosis as possible. The science and technology exists to save a lot of lives, but the access to it is guarded by massive expenses that many (especially those without medical insurance) simply do not have the resources to overcome on their own. Had Charlotte been able to have surgery within a few weeks of her diagnosis, before the cancer began to spread to her lymphatic system, her chances to beat this disease would have significantly increased and the treatment needed to save her life would have been less complex. I don’t have statistics on how many people won’t survive their fight against cancer because they lack the monetary resources to get the treatment that could very well save their lives. But that number should be zero.

Don’t stop donating to cancer research foundations—they do important work! But next time you hear that someone has been diagnosed with cancer, remember that they will likely need much more than your prayers and well wishes to beat it. Their successful fight against cancer may require your time, talents and whatever funds you can give. I can't fix Cancer. I can't make a difference in the lives of everyone diagnosed with cancer who lives in Cache Valley. For today I want to be able to help someone, just one person in a way that makes a difference in their battle against cancer. For me that person is Charlotte.

1 comment:

cleggclan said...

Awww. Cynthia, what a great post! You always say that you're not good with words but I think you just proved yourself wrong. I completely agree with everything you wrote here. It's almost like you plucked it right out of me. Thanks for sharing!