My daughter Diandra was one of hundreds of people who braved scorching, triple-digit heat-as well as an unexpected rain shower-to participate in the American Cancer Society fund-raiser. A cross-section of people-young and old, men, women, children, cancer survivors, and those who've lost friends and loved ones to the disease- were on hand for the event. Modesto alone raised $409,000! The figures were not yet in for how much Turlock had raised.
Charlie had a bag lit in his honor.
A cluster of hearts could be seen in the clouds after the rain had washed away some of the heat.
Every tent had a theme. This was for breast cancer.
Ladies~ don't put it off. Get your mammograms!
Diandra is the first one in the center of the picture.
Luminaria lit remember those who have been lost to cancer as well honoring survivors as hundreds of others walk laps.
It was hard for Charlie to be at this event at this time in his walk against cancer. Before we went to the fund raiser, Charlie had suggested that he, Diandra and I go out for dinner. His spirits were good until we were standing admiring the different tents themes. He became very quiet and seemed like he was in a far away place. The reality of it all just hit home for him. The day before there was an article in our local newspaper about a woman who had breast cancer off and on for 20 years. I was inspired with what the woman was quoted as saying, "Look at how long I've lasted," she said with a smile. "It used to be the recurrence (of cancer) was the end... Back in 1997, I thought, 'Well, this is it. I'm going to die.' But you just kind of learn to live with it. You appreciate each day, and God's the one who will decide when my number is up.
"People have asked me before how much time my doctor said I had left to live. When I get that question, I just say, 'He's never told me, and if he did, I'd look for another doctor. The doctor doesn't know how long I'm going to live. And I don't know how long he's going to live. All I know is that I feel good right now." As I tried to read this to him, he had interrupted me, only to say he had already read it. Charlie looked overwhelmed. He is just trying to get through this last episode of chemo treatment let alone the thought of having to do it off and on in the future or for the rest of his life. We have a little over two months until he is scanned again to see what is going on with the cancer image that could be seen on his last one.
My mom came to support the cause and walk a lap with Diandra. She whispered to me that she too could see that it was too much for him right now and to take him home. We all understood.
In October, the annual Report to the Nation on cancer showed that death rates are dropping faster than ever, largely thanks to progress against colorectal cancer, the nation's No.2 cancer killer (behind lung cancer). A turning point came in 2002; from 2002 to 2004 death rates dropped by an average of 2.1 percent a year. That might not sound like much, but from 1993 to 2001, death rates dropped on average 1.1 percent a year. "The significant decline in cancer death rates demonstrates important progress in the fight against cancer that has been achieved through effective tobacco control, screening, early detection and appropriate treatment," said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Julie Gerberding, in a news release at the time.
It is so important to raise money for this cause. It is getting to the point that we have all lost someone we love and close to us, known someone or someone that has it, to this disease.