Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An Unwanted Journey: Day 1036 - Global Cancer Initiative

I watched a live webcast this morning of a plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City in which Lance Armstrong announced a new global initiative for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, beginning today. Lance noted that he will be taking another shot at professional racing, hoping in part that this will raise the visibility of the global cancer initiative.

Refuse the Stigma

Perhaps the most important feature of the global cancer initiative is the attempt to remove the stigma associated with cancer diagnosis. "You are not a victim"- words from Bill Clinton about those of us with cancer. He was talking about Lance Armstrong's impact in fighting cancer, pointing specifically to the attitude Lance has promoted among those dealing with cancer. Yes, cancer is a scourge. But what Lance teaches us is that whatever the difficulties assailing us, "We are not victims." We are survivors. We have choices to make. We have opportunities to make a difference not only for ourselves, but for our caregivers, for others dealing with cancer, and for a world at large which will soon face cancer as the number one killer (estimated by 2010).

Collaborate With Others Against Cancer

Eight million people worldwide will die from cancer this year. Twelve million will be diagnosed with cancer.

Apart from the statistics that I am personally facing, statistics like these are truly frightening. Obviously, they help people like me transcend the exigencies of our own personal difficulties. But they do illustrate the scope of the challenge before us. Still, I am inspired and grateful to those leaders like Lance Armstrong who are taking steps to deal with cancer on a global basis. At a national level, I have been hoping and waiting for the energy and enthusiasm of the Lance Armstrong Foundation to move beyond the borders of the United States. Now the initiative is underway. Now is the time for Canada to partner.

Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow

I didn't know about this song until today. But I've purchased it and downloaded it to my iTunes library. I can't think of a better song to represent the juxtaposition of personal and global concerns about cancer and the decision to live strong in the face of the threat of cancer. Here are the lyrics (from Wideawake).

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