Naive little me didn't know about World Cancer Day until cancer hit me (in)directly in the face - my mother getting a lung cancer diagnosis. And not just lung cancer, but small cell lung cancer which is known to spread fast and cause hard and unmanageable destruction.
My mom tackled cancer like she did everything in life - rationally. She started treatment, she stopped working, ate healthier, exercised and focused on her health and mental well-being. Most importantly she was positive that she can live long with this and overcome it step by step. In short, she was doing everything right.
On the other hand, I couldn't understand anything. It seemed ridiculous that at 48, my mother had cancer, was in pain, lost her hair and could lose her life. I wondered how life looks like for people who are in close proximity to cancer, who are in emotional pain, but have to be caregivers to their sick loved ones. That is how I found World Cancer Day, how I found communities of people going through similar experiences. What their stories taught me was strength, patience and love, while also teaching me grief, sadness and the cruel reality of cancer. I wasn't alone and I wasn't helpless. There were things I could do, for my mother and for other people. And that is what made life bearable during those 2 years of a joint combative family effort to beat lung cancer.
Unfortunately, my mother lost her battle with cancer 3 years ago. But that is when my battle with cancer truly began. My purpose after the loss of my mom has become just that - battling, raising awareness and doing all I can to help those who are fighting, support caregivers, inform everyone of important information about cancer that everyone needs to know.
People who fight cancer, those who prevail and those who do not deserve to be honored by all of us rallying in the fight against cancer. Action, even the smallest in scale means the world. And everyone who does even the smallest thing is a hero in my eyes and in my heart.