Take Action. Help me and perhaps even yourself.

July 22, 2006

Cross posted at DailyKos

The recent veto of the Stem Cell funding bill reinforces our knowledge that this administration is not about to do anything to improve our overall health in this country. Access to basic healthcare will continue to drop and the funding of scientific research into ways to treat and cure disease will not happen. Fine, the government is currently failing us. So, what do we do? I guess I am going to quote my more libertarian friend who believes that the government should never be relied upon for those things – we need to take care of each other. While I do not support that view completely of course, I do support the idea that we need to take action ourselves until we can turn things around politically. So, when we feel as if we are just banging our heads against a Rovian wall, when we feel helpless and depressed over the state of things, how about picking a non-political cause to support? I promise you it will improve your mental state tremendously. Pick a cause!

How about cancer?

Take the poll below – how many of us have been touched by cancer? How many are currently battling it? How many are survivors? How about your immediate family? Your closest circle of friends? I met a DailyKos member on the way to YearlyKos who is now in the middle of her battle. She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and began treatments as soon as she returned home from Vegas. Found early, it seemed that her cancer was localized and that she will join the list of survivors.

I was watching the ESPY’s the other night. This year the award show was hosted by Lance Armstrong. ESPN is a co-founder of the V foundation for cancer research. Lance made the annual presentation on the V foundation and blended it with information on his Livestrong organization. He said something which brought dead silence to his audience and really took my breath away. He named the many sports figures that have died from cancer, and then he said that half of us would be diagnosed at some point in our lives with some form of cancer. Half! Now, I have searched many of the main cancer websites and could not find anything to support that. Instead, what I found on the Livestrong site was a statistic of one in three. Fine. Let’s go with that, but keep that one half in mind would ya? I am rather confident that Lance would not have used it unless he has some backup for it. At any rate. One third. That is still a darn lot of us. Too many of course. The older I get, the more people I know who have battled or lost their battles with cancer. A few lost their battles before they were 40. A few diagnosed before they were 30. My mother and I have both had benign breast lumps removed.

Those numbers sure seem daunting, but the thing is, progress is occurring and everyone can make a difference. 30 years ago cancer was almost certainly a death sentence. Now, thanks to research and education it is being caught at earlier stages and successfully treated. The V foundation, Livestrong, the Susan G Komen foundation – all wonderful, private charitable research groups that have raised money to support the cause. They provide research grants, but more importantly they fund education and screening programs to go out into communities and bring information to those who don’t have access to regular healthcare. They provide mobile labs to run mammograms to screen for breast cancer as an example. These are the kinds of places you can support. They are filling the gaps left by our government.

This is just an example of a cause that I support which I feel is making a difference. An impact has been made through these foundations. The Susan G Komen foundation is my particular beneficiary. Go to that site and read about the founder and the progress that has been made. It is inspiring. One person has made a huge difference. I have walked in 2 breast cancer 3-day events. I am currently training to walk in my 3rd here in San Diego in November. Visit the 3-day walk site and see how much money these events raise. It’s staggering. Seriously consider signing up for one! You don’t have to be in fabulous shape – really! I have walked with people of various sizes, ages and shapes. I have walked with survivors and even some still battling cancer. Certainly the training for the walk increases your fitness level and that can be nothing but good, right? Improve your own health while supporting and contributing to the long term health of others. Consider signing up to be a member of the crew who supports the walkers. A friend of mine always signs up to be a massage therapist at the campsites and she just loves it. If all you can do is donate a few dollars, then visit my 3-day walk site and contribute to my walk.

So now the cynical amongst are thinking that I only wrote this to beg for money :-> Ok, yes, that was about 25% of my motivation. Honestly though, I have wanted to pop my diary writing cherry for some time now. This topic is a passion of mine and I hope it gives someone here an idea for some positive action that they can take to make a difference. I promise all of you right here and right now that if you sign up to participate in the 3-day – send me your link to the email in my profile and I will contribute to your event too.  

We need to take care of each other, because right now the government has no intention of doing anything to improve the health of its citizens. I mean, really, what should we expect from this crowd? Our Decider in Chief is more concerned with the tense shoulder muscles of the German Chancellor than Americans who would benefit from stem cell research!!