In 1965, the chemotherapy to cure Hodgkin lymphoma was found. 1965! The Rolling Stones have songs that are older than that! Because of that discovery just a short 50 years ago, when I was diagnosed in the early nineties with Hodgkin’s, the words “you have cancer” were not a death sentence.
In fact, I’m excited to report, that January 20th, 2014, marks my 20 years cured! And I can tell you that the time has gone by in the blink of an eye. Reflecting on the 20 years that have passed since I completed treatment, I can share that cancer has made me angry, sad, weak, strong, grateful, and above all else, passionate about changing the way the world fights cancer.
Personally and professionally, I’ve been able to do so much over these years. I have an amazing and supportive family, clear guidance on my survivorship care, access to insurance, and a career that I love which allows me to support people affected by cancer. It has not always been easy, but I’ve always had access to support, and I know this is not the case for all survivors.
In the field of cancer, we’ve seen so much progress in the last 20 years. Early detection, screening, treatment have all been drastically changed for the better– and the field of post-treatment survivorship was born and is now a part of daily care for many people affected by cancer. And, yet there is still so much more to do.
I’m ready to take on the next 20 years, because I can only imagine what we will do to improve the lives of people affected by cancer! That’s why I’m going to keep ensuring that the Foundation supports people affected by cancer now, sharing my story to help advance the field and celebrating success along the way.
Last year, via twitter Scott Joy asked me how I planned to celebrate my 20 years. At the time I’d not thought about it at all, but I’ve been considering this all year, and, of course, there’s no better way for me to celebrate surviving cancer than contributing to the mission of LIVESTRONG and enjoying time with my family.
At the 2013 Car2Go Austin Marathon Relay, my daughter and I started participating together in run/walk events. We are continuing this year and at the 2014 Car2Go Austin Marathon Relay, we will walk our 20th mile together in celebration of my 20 years cured.
We hope you will consider supporting our campaign for LIVESTRONG by donating at least $20 for my 20 years cured. Learn more about our adventures and our fundraising campaign at http://laf.livestrong.org/goto/20milesfor20years.