Perspective is a beautiful thing. Some would say that it’s a gift. There are many ways we obtain such a gift, whether it comes through age, being a parent or going through some type of adversity.
A few weeks back there was uproar over how Susan G. Komen stopped it’s funding to Planned Parenthood centers. The foundation faced a tidal wave of bad press and public opinion as a result of their decision. People said they wouldn’t support events such as Race for the Cure, which raises money for local organizations that fight breast cancer and assist cancer patients in cities across the United States.
Komen did an about-face and reversed its decision due to the backlash, but for a brief time there was a major divide amongst companies and individuals who were supporters of both Komen and Planned Parenthood. While some people applauded Komen’s original decision to stop their Planned Parenthood funding, others were upset. In some cases major Komen donors backed out altogether, which prompted the organization to change its mind.
But there was a third group caught in the middle, a group my family and I suddenly found ourselves in last week: cancer patients and survivors. And that’s where the perspective comes in.
You see, when you find yourself talking to an oncologist and you’re developing the game plan for how you’re going to battle the tumors that were found in a loved one’s CT scan, politics and policy fly straight out the window. While some fight over morality there are others facing their own mortality.
When politics and differing points of view enter the equation, it helps us lose sight over the bigger picture, giving cancer that much more of a chance to win.
While some fight over morality there are others facing their own mortality.
Last Sunday in El Paso, Texas, near-record numbers of people attended the 20th Annual Race for the Cure event. And for me it was more than just an opportunity to brand Telemundo and treat the thousands of people who showed up to see one of the network’s biggest stars, Dr. Ana Maria Polo of the hit show Caso Cerrado.
As a breast cancer survivor herself, Polo served as Honorary Chair of the Race and signed hundreds of autographs. But the highlight for me was seeing the many survivors, some of them just kids, who had beaten the odds. There were tears of happiness for those wearing pink survivor shirts; there were tears of sadness for those who had lost their battles.
There was hope.
And when you have hope you have a fighting chance. The key is to keep up the fight.
One friend of mine has a sister who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 18. Now in her late twenties, this woman has been in and out of remission numerous times. Last summer, when she was about to be pronounced cancer-free, her CT scans showed that the tumors had come back, this time in almost every major organ. After enduring yet another operation – this one lasted 8 hours – my friend’s sister is back on her feet and getting better every day.
“She just has this incredible positive attitude,” her sister told me.
Here’s to focusing on the big picture and leaving petty politics behind. Here’s to those who fight to survive every day and the families that love them. Here’s to those who are no longer with us and their memories that help sustain those of us who are still here.
Here’s to hope.