Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Enroll

Over this past weekend, I participated in the Relay for Life. I headed up a team dedicated to my Dad, recruited friends to walk with us and raised money. Even though this was our first year and we did very little actual fundraising, we passed our goal.

It was a beautiful, emotional and exhausting experience. And I can't wait to do it again next year.

I also did something else in the fight against cancer. Something that is just as, if not more important, than raising money. I enrolled in a study.

The American Cancer Society is a co-sponsor of a very large scale cancer prevention study. It's a long term, prospective study aimed at identifying risk factors and lifestyle issues that are implicated in cancer development. It isn't the kind of study that will benefit our generation. What it will do, however, is provide tremendous knowledge for our children and our children's children.

As someone with a public health background, I was positively exuberant when I learned that this study was enrolling here. I nudged friends to go do it too. Some were reluctant, but I persuaded them.

I'm not just a person with a public health mindset. I'm not just someone who studied epidemiology and understands how hugely important this study is. I'm not just a fan of evidence based medicine, urging this industry to find more cause and effect relationships. I'm not just someone who knows that prevention is far superior to treatment.

I'm a daughter and I'm a wife and I'm a mother.

I refuse to believe that the way we detect and treat cancer today is good enough. I refuse to believe that there isn't a better way. I am highly suspicious of the chemicals and toxins in our world that we have come to accept as safe and normal. I don't for one second believe that we can trust companies to make safe products.

I am doing this study because I'm a daughter and a wife and a mother. And I want my children and my grandchildren to live in a world without cancer, something I have not known. I want them to be equipped with the tools to avoid dangers. I want them to know that something might harm them long term. I want to give them the information they need to make conscious decisions about their health.

So if that means I need to answer lots of questions on a regular basis, so be it. If it means I have to give blood occasionally, so be it. It it means I have to subject myself to tests and measurements, so be it.

This is important. Really important.

This is bigger than us.

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