On a late summer afternoon seven years ago, I was sitting on the edge of the big back deck at the Compound when my cell phone rang. It was my sister calling. My oldest sister, who is four years my junior. She told me she had breast cancer. Good thing I was sitting down. I got light-headed. She went through the extremely difficult treatments and is now cancer free.
My life has intersected with quite a few breast cancer victims, and the only unusual thing about that is that it’s not unusual at all. I don’t think there’s a person alive who hasn’t had a family member, colleague, or friend who’s had the dreaded diagnosis.
Two former co-workers are survivors. Robin, who went through the ordeal a couple years ago, fought it courageously; beat it; had another scare; had more treatment; beat it again; and is back at work running the only remaining commercial radio news operation in Madison. Sheree, a colleague from my radio days in the Fox Valley, beat it, and showed phenomenal courage during her long ordeal of chemo, posting pictures on Facebook of every step of her long treatment road – including a set of pictures she called “bald Sheree” after she lost her beautiful hair to the chemo.
Right now, my former colleague and friend Dan’s wife Jennie is going through another battle with invasive breast cancer which also involves her lymph nodes. She had a long procedure this morning and is recovering in a Quad Cities hospital this afternoon.
Breast cancer does not need any more awareness. Every sentient human being on the planet is aware of it. Breast cancer needs a cure.
That’s why I was so – I don’t know; angry? Upset? Disturbed? I’m not sure what I was late this morning when I clicked “like” on a friend’s Facebook post, which said he’d just won seven grand on a scratch-off lottery ticket. I was happy for him! He’s a GREAT guy, and I celebrated his good fortune. Moments later, I got a message from him, saying his post was part of a “breast cancer awareness” meme (yes, still another) that’s going around the internet.
It also explained why my sister-in-law posted yesterday that she’d gotten out of a traffic ticket by showing her boobs.
These responses are two of the twelve “suggested posts” for anyone who likes or comments on their outrageous post. I was expected to pick one of the twelve suggested posts (all of them are inane) and post it as a status update, this, theoretically, to “increase breast cancer awareness”.
Well, that got my Irish up. I immediately went to the UW’s Carbone Cancer Center website and made a donation on behalf of my wife and myself. You can donate at this link.
Here’s evidence (above) that I actually made the donation. It’s easy. It’s a few clicks, fill in a few blanks, give a credit or debit card number, and you’re done.
I selected the Carbone Cancer Center because it’s local, I know the money goes to work to find a cure, and doesn’t get siphoned off to pay outrageous executive salaries.
And, I have another reason for donating to the Carbone Cancer Center. My wife works in Marketing and Public Affairs at UW-Health, and helps set up the events that Andy North, our local 2-time U.S. Open Golf Championship winner, puts on twice every year: in the cold-weather months it’s the huge trivia contest, and in the warm-weather months it’s his great charity golf tournament at the Dells.
This past summer, Andy brought a couple other golfers to the event….a guy named Rogers, who’s some sort of football player, and a guy named Yount, who was some sort of baseball player.
Here's a picture of my wife with that Yount fellow at last summer's Andy North and Friends charity event.
Andy and Aaron and Robin raised $910,000 for the Carbone Cancer Center at that event.
Unlike the many scams masquerading under the guise of “breast cancer awareness” - like the NFL’s annual pink scam, where you buy a pink jersey for around $150 bucks and the NFL donates 5% of the proceeds (which translates to a few bucks) to breast cancer research – when you make a direct donation to an organization like the Carbone Cancer Center, your money – all of it – goes to work helping to find a cure.
So please don’t ask me to update my status with some inane bit, or where I last left my purse (last year’s Facebook “cancer awareness” meme). Like you, I know victims of breast cancer personally. We need a cure, not more “awareness”. Please donate.