There is a certain helplessness that comes with watching a sister or a dear friend battle cancer and ultimately succumb to this horrible disease - It is in the simple act of riding my bike in the Ride To Conquer Cancer that I can, in the most humble of ways, do something to fight back.
In memory of family and friends, as well as to support family and friends that are currently fighting the good fight*, I ask you to donate generously by clicking on this link - I promise to ride my heart out.
With my shameless plea out on the table, I wanted to offer some statistics regarding cancer, as it will touch you either directly or indirectly in your lifetime. Also I've included a short, creatively written story of two young boys and one tiny frog... my way of thanking you for reading my plea for your support.
First the statistics, and although they are Canadian, I am quite sure they echo the situation in almost all countries around the world:
- An estimated 196,900 new cases of cancer and 78,000 deaths from cancer will occur in Canada in 2015 (the final numbers are being tallied).
- More than half (about 51%) of all new cases will be prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancers.
- About 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetimes and 1 in 4 will die of the disease.
- 63% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer will survive at least 5 years after their diagnosis.
- At the beginning of 2009, there were about 810,045 Canadians living with a cancer that had been diagnosed in the previous 10 years. Click here to read more.
Fighting cancer is a noble purpose.
And now for that story I promised you -
Frog heaven... the place where all good frogs go.
This story, now seen through the illuminated eyes of adulthood, seems to find its way into the conversation every time a friend and I get together; it is a narrative of childhood, innocence and two young boys' interpretation of doing the right thing - A conversation that seems to always carry an air of guilt with it. But at the time and being ten years old, the conversations were of our adventures and the exploits of great explorers wandering the undeveloped fields in the neighbourhood. It was early summer and we were far too young to be carrying anything that resembled guilt.
As we explored around large mounds, scraggily brush, ponds and bull rushes is wasn't long until we had successfully cornered and captured a great prize; as memory serves, it got away from us a couple of times, but in the end the frog was ours. Our status as great hunters had been confirmed because after all, this is what young boys do (as well as collect insects in an old pickle jar with the lid poked full of holes for proper air circulation) - We had proven ourselves once again. With quarry in hand, we decided then and there to make the frog our pet and look after it with all the care that a ten year old boy could muster.
Off to my friend's house we ran with said frog securely in hand.
It wasn't long before we had constructed the perfect residence for our frog consisting of an open cardboard box (just deep enough to keep the frog safely inside), lots of grass, some sticks and a few rocks; all nestled snuggly at the back of the garage. I vaguely remember the two of us wondering why our new pet wasn't moving very much and maybe he was hungry; this was when my friend's father pulled into the driveway. We were off like a shot down the driveway to greet him, share the day's adventure and show off our new pet (who by the way was never named, and will always just be known to me as "frog").
As my friend's father (who seemed very tall) inspected our handy work, I remember him in a very "fatherly way" explain to us that the frog belonged in the wild, he was suffering and would die if we kept him in his newly fashioned home. With that all said, he went inside and we were left with our ten year old thoughts - So it was back to the wilds of the pond with our suffering frog (who we now believed was going to die) and we would put it out of its misery. We had to stop his suffering after all (which we were acutely aware we had caused), and realized to do so, we had to kill the frog.
At this point you should keep reading and cut us some slack as we were now grappling with some rather lofty concepts... besides, we weren't murders, we were ten.
When we get back to the pond, and after much debate over the most appropriate method to euthanize our beloved pet frog, we had decided on "drowning"; the technique of choice would involve a piece of string with one end tied to the frog's leg and the other to a rock. I'm almost sure this was fashioned after something we saw on a black and white TV.
In the end, after many attempts of securing the string to the frog, then the string to the dirt lump, then the string to the frog and the rock, and after poking the frog down every time he came surface, we found ourselves staring down on the frog at the bottom of the pond. We waited a couple of minutes until we were satisfied we had put his suffering to an end and then headed home (we were already late for dinner).
There has been a fair bit of speculation and perspective over the years regarding this situation and our culpability. After all, being an amphibian, a frog can hold its breath a rather long time; the debate will forever continue. What I can tell you, there is a small part of me that hopes the God up in frog heaven isn't much of a talker when she goes to any deity meetings.
Thank you for reading and your support,
* My uncle was recently diagnosed with cancer and I wrote a blog on "fighting the good fight". He has gone through four rounds of chemo, continues to "fight the good fight" and is winning!