I paused at my usual vantage point. A participant in numerous "walks for the cause", I knew the location along the route where six lanes of pink-wearing walkers would be most visible for a longview. Taking in the thousand or so in that one spot and then knowing that somewhere around 30, 000 others had just passed this point or would soon was . . .
All that organizers would have wanted it to be.
Inspiration was easy. The survivors wore special caps or shirts to designate they had thus far beaten a disease that had taken the lives of so many -- who were memorialized on the backs of shirts of friends and family members. Some survivors didn't need the apparel. The lack of hair, pale complexion, and gaunt face announced to all that these were the current combatants. Their presence underscored that each day of life is its own victory.
I cry easily. Give me a good Hallmark commercial (or frankly, even a cheesey bad one) and I'll tear up. But my tears came and went quickly as I became infuriated with the injustice of a disease that robs daughters from their mothers, fathers from their children (yes, even men get breast cancer), sisters from sisters, and on and on and on. One of my favorite examples of writing -- West Wing -- took on the subject of cancer in an episode. President Bartlett, bored by a dinner party with his wife's medical friends, overhears one of them mention something about the disease and perks up. After a few moments, he begins to understand that a cure for cancer is within reach . . . if only enough money and time could be devoted to it. His team is called together and Rob Lowe's character is commissioned to write the lines that will ignite an accelerated movement in that direction after they are delivered during the State of the Union. Reminiscent of Kennedy's declaration that we would have a man on the moon, the idea was to underscore the potential, not the possible. The words are written . . . and never spoken. The politics of making words reality trumps inspiration. Lowe's character is later prompted to report, "We almost cured cancer today."
Almost is never good enough. And so, while a walk does me some good physically and calls attention in a very pink way to what is being done and is left to do, I'm energized to do more. Write? Sure, that's easy. Give? Have been and will continue. But what else? I'm open to what doors open on this one. Cancer eats away internally. Cancer bites. And I'm ready for a fight. I'll let you know when I get to throw the next punch.