February 4 is World Cancer Day – a day for awareness, education, action about a disease that still claims more than 9.6 million lives worldwide each year.
That’s the entire population of Belarus. Every single person living in Bogota or Seoul.
And that doesn’t include the millions more people fighting brave fights against cancer each year.
My stepfather is one of the people in the latter group.
He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer (mesothelioma) in 2016. Since then, he, my mother, and our entire family have been on quite a journey. He’s had some amazing care and is doing well at the moment. He is one of the very lucky ones.
We are very lucky.
Millions upon millions of families are perhaps not as fortunate. Their cancer journeys may have had comparatively few ups, and many more, deeper downs. Cancer takes way too many people much more quickly and without dignity.
So far, that has not been our journey. So far. So we are thankful.
A global campaign to mark World Cancer Day bills it as a positive movement.
That may seem odd to some. But when you consider the progress made, and stories like my stepfather’s, and every family gathering we still get with him because diagnosis, treatment, after-care, and monitoring are all much better than they used to be… there is reason for optimism.
Cancer tests optimism, to be sure.
Even the best cancer journeys have very dark moments.
But, collectively, we are making progress.
Over the years, I have met some incredibly brilliant and amazingly dedicated people moving the cancer yardsticks forward – on research, on treatment, in other areas, too. On this and every day, I salute their work and their results.
They are among the reasons I LOVE working with health-care organizations.
The best of these orgs have people at the centre of everything they do. They work tirelessly and daily to make a positive difference and to make progress on the big issues that matter.
When we talk about working with organizations that are purpose-driven, there is no purpose higher than the betterment of the human condition.
Today, and every day, we salute those working toward a cancer-free future.