Pancreatic Cancer Sucks

How could one little yellow thing cause so much trouble?  Pancreatic Cancer has been top of mind lately with the recent death of Steve Jobs. Steve was a man who contributed his immeasurable brillance to technology and influenced the ways humans communicate and share their lives. He was an innovator, a genius but most heart-breaking to me was that he was also a father and a husband. To us he was a giant and a god, but to his family he was someone they loved and cherished in a way none of us ever knew him. It is the way we love our parents, spouses and children and when I think about what it would be like to lose someone I love in such a terribly unfair way, my heart aches. Like us,  Steve Jobs was a human being and he probably knew the purpose and meaning behind the bond that forms between human beings better anyone else, it was why his products were able to connect with us so emotionally.

I was caught off guard when I heard of Steve Job’s loss with his battle with cancer. Despite all the news around his health, I thought he would win. Especially because he seemed to win and excel at everything he did. I guess I always thought with his money and access to doctors he of all people would continue to beat this thing or to at least live far longer than he did. Yet he didn’t. When it comes to Pancreatic Cancer, most people lose.

The thing about Pancreatic Cancer is that it doesn’t give a damn who you are, if you are young or are old, if you are a good person or a bad person, if you have money or are poor and it can be especially cruel when it decides to take root in someone who is a parent of young children or the beloved grandfather of another set of children. This past few weeks Pancreatic Cancer has been screaming at me and is front and center in my life from Steve Jobs to the lives of my loved ones and the loved ones of friends.

My sister’s father-in-law was suddenly diagnosed earlier this year. Initially they were not sure how far along the cancer was and although I found myself hoping he would be one of the lucky ones, when my sister shared it with me all I could think of in the back of my mind was that it felt like a death sentence for him. That was in March. Unfortunately, it was the kind that would move quickly and now just months later, this week,  he has been sent home with hospice to live the remainder of his life with his family by his side as there is nothing more the doctors can do. Her family is hurting and my heart once again hurts for my sister, her husband, the rest of his children and his grandchildren as they peacefully say goodbye to this man they love so much.

Just three months earlier in December of last year, my college roommate and lifelong friend, Juliegh, reached out to me to let me know that her sister-in-law, Amy, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. I didn’t personally know Amy, but her situation hit me like a ton of bricks. She was only 36 years old. 36 YEARS OLD! She was a mother of three and had a new baby about the same age as my little guy Truett. Her cancer was determined to be innoperable and since her diagnosis she has been receiving rounds of chemo and radiation to try to shrink the tumor that is surrounding vital arteries. I have been amazed at her will to fight this thing as I am not sure I would have the strength to do so. She has had to take a leave from work, has limited health insurance due to our sucky healthcare system, is raising three children and fighting cancer!  I long ago would have curled up in a ball screaming this is not fair and given up. Yet, she continues to fight as so many people out there are doing. It has been almost a year since her diagnosis and SHE CONTINUES TO FIGHT. To me she is the type of hero material that Steve Jobs was made of.

The comforting part of Amy’s story is that has a tremendous family who loves her. They have set up a website to help raise donations for her medical costs. They have done Etsy fundraisers, Craft Auctions, Pie Bake Sales, Spaghetti Dinners, Bowl-a-thons and coming up this weekend they are running the Detroit 1/2 Marathon in her honor. Although I haven’t met Amy,  I have donated money to help her cover her high medical costs as I would hope a stranger would do for me if I needed it.

I don’t like to ask for favors and I know there has already been a lot of scams going on after Steve Jobs passing, but I know that some our people in our tech community have shared that they feel compelled to do something towards this awful disease.  So, if you have the means and want to do something in honor of the gifts Steve Jobs shared with us all please don’t just think about it, do something, do anything. Donate to research, help a loved one who is suffering from this disease or please consider helping Amy out while she still has a chance to fight. I know donating to Amy, doesn’t go to the root of research of her disease but it directly helps a mother, sister, daughter and friend with horrific medical expenses and alleviates some of her stress so she can focus her will on fighting.

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One Comment

  1. Juliegh
    Posted October 12, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing this with your readers, and for doing it so eloquently. I am deeply grateful for your support and if anyone else out there wants to pledge their support, I’ll take that too!