It's up to all of us !!!
Cancer is a scourge to mankind like no other. It affects everyone, not just the unfortunate people who contract the disease but everyone else too. Even if you haven’t directly experienced the disease in your own body, you are likely terrorized by the possibility if not the probability, of a future battle with it. If you ask a thousand people to put up their hands if they’ve been affected by cancer, either directly or through a loved one, you will be able to count those not affected on the fingers of one hand. Everyone is affected by this disease. The fear it creates in the lives of all of us truly trumps any other life-threatening episode we could ever experience. We fear cancer so much that many of us can’t even utter the word, using the term “Big C” instead.
The havoc that this disease wreaks on all of us has been going on long enough. It is time we put this horrible monster to rest and the only thing that prevents this from happening is a lack of true commitment to do so. Every year thousands of promising research projects go unfunded. The only thing preventing the eradication of cancer is money. The lack of political will to tackle this problem in a serious way, is seriously slowing our progress. If we committed to ending this disease with the same fervent determination we demonstrated in getting the first man to the moon, we would undoubtedly be successful. If our politicians made this commitment, we could end cancer in less than a decade. If those same politicians committed as little as half the money they now spend on their public relations budgets, it would end the funding shortfall. The cost of a significant yearly commitment to fund cancer research would be far less than the long-term costs involved in dealing with the disease, particularly given its accelerating pace.
Since the political will to get serious about this problem does not yet exist, the burden of this battle must fall on all of us. If we want to do something about this disease that affects all of us, then all of us must enlist in the effort to end it. If everyone decided to do something, anything, just once a year in support of this battle, we would see dividends in a very short period of time. If every person in Canada figured out a way to raise just one hundred dollars a year to help fund research, we would net a tidy three-billion extra dollars, each and every year, which would more than end the underfunding of this research.
I made a personal decision, six years ago, to stop whining about this dreadful condition and do something about it. Shortly after my dear aunt Dorothy was taken by this disease, I vowed to do an annual ten day, three-hundred and twenty kilometer hike on the Rideau Trail, from Kingston to Ottawa, in memory of all the people in my life who are no longer with us, thanks to cancer. I chose to do this because it’s hard to do and it hurts. I wanted it to be both difficult and painful so I might experience just a fraction of the difficulty and pain that my dear Mother and every other victim of this disease have experienced. I have now completed this pilgrimage of sorts five times and am about to attempt the sixth. So far I have collected over twenty-thousand dollars and I fully intend to keep this effort up until the day I die or until cancer is eradicated, whichever comes first.
Now it's real personal. It wasn't enough that this dastardly disease had taken so many of my aunts and uncles - not enough that it took Mom.
Cancer has now taken my dear cousin Don Williams. Don was 58, a healthy, vibrant and much loved husband, father and friend. This year I'm hiking for you Don. You are sorely missed bud.
Here's a little message for you cancer; your days are numbered; you're about to go the way of the Dodo bird and I won't stop until you're history !!!
12 R1, RR1, Smiths Falls, ON K7A 5B8
Please make cheques payable to The Canadian Cancer Society, with "Mike Lush's 9th annual Hike to end cancer", on the memo line...thanks a million everybody.
A tax receipt will be promptly provided.