An online devotional I read this week was written by a father who was recently diagnosed with cancer. After his initial shock, confusion and anxiety, the man decided to take a loved one’s advice and view cancer as an unexpected “speed bump on the highway of life.” Please understand, as a woman of faith and a woman who spends much of her time teaching the value of a positive attitude, I respect, appreciate and admire the writer’s faith and optimistic outlook. I find his attitude an inspiration beyond measure. However, events of the past several days have led me to understand that while cancer may, indeed, be a speed bump in many life journeys; in others… it is a stop sign.
An ugly, red, unwelcome intruder that emerges out of nowhere and sends life to a screeching, shocking halt.
Two dear friends buried their young, vibrant, athletic 21 year old son this week. He died less than a week after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. His family and friends barely had time to wrap our minds around the diagnosis, before the young man’s body went into crisis mode. Despite valiant medical efforts and countless prayers that went up around the globe, there was no getting around this stop sign.
Cancer is an ugly word. It is an ugly disease. A recent Facebook post making the rounds reads “I hate cancer.” Don’t we all?
But the death of this young man and the suffering that cancer has inflicted on so many of my family members and my friends has caused me to do some serious thinking about my approach to this threat on the journey called Life. Rather than just get angry about the damage cancer is inflicting, I want to do something. I want to fight back. But, what can one person do? Well, I’ve begun researching possibilities. I’ve started the process of joining the national bone marrow registry. One person-- who is the right match-- can make all the difference. There are a number of fundraisers for cancer research that could use my help. Volunteers are always needed for programs that provide care and comfort to those fighting this disease, and to those who are grieving a loss. What can one person do? I’m finding that the possibilities are countless.
21 year old John Paxton Dean was one person...one person who was always looking for a way to help others...a way to make a difference... a way to make the world a better place. Perhaps you would like to follow his lead and seek to make a dfference as well. If you know someone whose highway of life has been hit with the speed bump--or the stop sign-- called “cancer” perhaps you will join me in searching for a way to channel the anger, sadness and helplessness we feel into positive and proactive steps to fight this disease. One person can make a difference.
Rest in Peace, John Paxton Dean