by Chris Brewer
I lost my dad 8 years ago after a prolonged fight with bladder cancer. When a loved one is battling cancer it affects the whole family and during those years our lives were turned upside down. We were stressed, scared and confused. Our lives were put on hold as we dealt with hospital visits, test results and complications. Hours and hours were spent in cancer centre rooms keeping dad company, trying to feel as if we were helping. Losing him was absolutely devastating.
What Team LIVESTRONG event are you participating in? Have you participated with Team LIVESTRONG in the past?
I am participating in the 2013 ING NYC Marathon and this is the first event that I have participated in as a member of Team LIVESTRONG.
Why did you join Team LIVESTRONG?
I have been a long time supporter of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. I’ve worn my yellow bracelet for over 10 years and regularly purchase LIVESTRONG clothing. I’ve never really participated in a proper fundraising event and I was honored to be able to join and support the team and foundation.
How else have you participated with the LIVESTRONG Foundation?
After my dad passed away, my family and I started Milkshake Day for Cancer Awareness and Support. While Milkshake Day for Cancer does not raise funds itself, it encourages people to get involved and support a charity that means something to them personally. The LIVESTRONG Foundation is one charity that is close to my heart and one that I recommend for people to support.
Have you ever used the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s web services?
In the early days, I would use the foundation’s web services as a source of information about what might be happening with my dad and his cancer. I was inspired by its manifesto (“We believe in life. Your life…”).
What does the LIVESTRONG Foundation mean to you?
The LIVESTRONG Foundation means to me hope and support. In the early days after my dad’s cancer diagnosis, my family was scared and nervous about what was going on. This was also around the same time that LIVESTRONG introduced its yellow bracelets. I was inspired by Lance’s story as a person who was diagnosed with a life threatening cancer and not given a lot of hope that he would survive. Yet he did, and as a public figure it offered hope for others. I once told my dad about the bracelet and his story. A few days later, visiting him at the cancer centre he said to me that he had noticed other people wearing the yellow bracelets and that it made him feel better because he didn’t feel so alone in his fight. In that moment, I decided I would always wear mine, just in case it could offer support to someone else who needed it.
What’s one piece of advice to someone affected by cancer?
My advice is just to let people know that they are not alone. When you are affected by cancer it’s easy to feel scared and forget that there are people going through the same thing that you are. Organizations such as LIVESTRONG offer support and the opportunity to connect with others. And the simplest of things such as wearing a yellow bracelet can mean so much…