I've debated writing this post for several reasons, but have decided I need to. I need to for the voiceless and while my voice may not reach the masses, even one person reading this is a start.
Since last night my Twitter timeline, Facebook, television, etc. have been filled with the news of Steve Jobs' death. It is terribly tragic news about a visionary who has given so much to our society.
Since the news of Jobs' passing, I have seen articles about pancreatic cancer, the cancer that ultimately took Jobs' life. While I'm grateful some good can come of Jobs' death, that is, bringing awareness to a cancer that gets very little attention and funding, I am also a little sad that this is what it takes.
Pancreatic cancer is often referred to by doctors as an "automatic death sentence." The survival rate for someone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is a mere few months. Yet, it is also the cancer that receives the least research and funding. Jobs is an inspiration for so many reasons, including the fact that he not only lived, but thrived, well past his "mere months."
It is certainly important that we mourn the death of Jobs and again, I am grateful for the attention he is bringing to pancreatic cancer. It's also important, however, to remember that there are other, less famous, ordinary people, like me and you, who are suffering or who have lost loved ones because of this disease.
My best friend is one of those people. He is the stoic type and would probably never want me to write this (or at least never ask it of me), but I have to and I think Steve Jobs would be okay with that and I'll accept my best friend being mad at me if this makes an ounce of difference. It is that important.
I watched my best friend struggle as his father passed away when we were 17 years old, a time when life is hard enough already. I watched him outwardly act as though everything was okay, but secretly confide in me that nobody had any idea what he was going through or even anything about the awful disease that took his father. I have watched him get stronger every year, but still have those moments when he wished he had a dad around to ask for advice. I have watched him now, almost 9 years later, become a man that his father would be so incredibly proud of - one who works hard, one who protects and loves his mother and sister to no end and one who has learned to open his heart again after all these years.
I have watched him, and I know there are so many others that have experienced similar pain. We owe it to everyone who has had to face this awful disease either as a patient, friend or family member to push for funding and research. Pancreatic cancer has many faces, including, but not limited to Steve Jobs, and it is important we do this for all of its faces.
On Nov. 5, Raleigh's Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will host the 2011 PurpleStride 5k for Pancreatic Cancer. Please come out and support this cause. Or, if you can't make it, a donation or even spreading the word to family and friends would be incredibly appreciated. Every effort counts.
2011 PurpleStride for Pancreatic Cancer
Lindsay's Fundraising Page