Helping Friends With and Without Cancer

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In the past, when confronted with something that has the killing capacity of cancer, I attempted to avoid it and move right on to the denial stage. Let me tell ya, it’s not a great strategy… It results in missing moments with people that you will never get back and for me that includes a father, a dear uncle, and most recently my sister. I hope that I am a freak of nature and no one else reacts this way, but I’m not.cancer

Having read the Serenity Prayer too many times, there is no doubt I have that whole “accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference” part down to a science. I can’t cure cancer, so I accept that and move on with things I can change. It’s one of the few times logic leaves me feeling like a fool.

Last year, I, along with two associates, had the opportunity to tour Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear, AZ. We were encouraged to ask questions of the doctors, administrators, patients and anybody we came in contact with. The three of us left impressed, and all being smokers agreed that if we ever heard the C word, CTCA was our next stop.

I’d be lying if I said, “I don’t want to make this a commercial for CTCA,” because I am sold. Do your own research, but please allow me two points.

1. Their success rates are great, but why aren’t they even better? Most of their cases are stage 3 and 4 whereas most hospitals are treating stages 1,2,3, and 4. The patients come to CTCA as a last resort, after their cancer has advanced and they are frustrated with their own hospitals and doctors who are unable to fix the problem. If they had more low hanging fruit, their rates would increase significantly.

2. The biggest complaint I see online is that they are, for-profit, which means the freeloading hippies are unimpressed. But like my afore mentioned (very wealthy) uncle always said, “Do I think I should get a better steak if I pay more for it? Well, health care isn’t any different.”

I recently found out on Facebook that a good friend of 25 years has cancer. We hadn’t spoken in months, so I called him immediately. We chatted a bit but most importantly, I accomplished what I had set out to do! He promised that he would call CTCA and at least give them a look.

He was in there a few days later and was as impressed as I. His treatment begins soon, and he likes his chances a lot more now. It’s going to be a fight, but he’ll win it.

While we were talking yesterday, he found it peculiar that he lost a couple Facebook friends after he announced the fight ahead. I told him that I understood why they might bail in this situation, and that frankly, I didn’t really know why I hadn’t. Why? That’s been my MO in the past.

After some thought, I concluded that touring CTCA gave me the confidence to enter a cancer fight with increased odds of winning.

The takeaway…

It’s a lot better being at my friend’s side, engaged in this battle with him. The last thing he needs right now is friends running away from him. I won’t do it again, and I’m asking you not to either.

Walking into CTCA, I was thinking it was a great fundraising opportunity with a politically like-minded high dollar donor. I enjoyed listening to their story and their accomplishments. I walked out with hope where I never saw any before, reassured cancer can be conquered. If you are ever confronted with the big C, please call or email them. They are available 24/7 and they even have an online chat available. No excuses!

Full disclosure… our fundraising attempt was unsuccessful. I am not upset in the least; it enables me, with good conscious to prod people towards CTCA. So as not to sound like a spokesman for CTCA, I am done expressing my accolades here. While they did not provide my candidate with financial support, they have, for what it’s worth, earned my public endorsement.

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