World Cancer Day: Our cancer blogger reflects

Blogger, and cancer fundraiser, Elana Waldman reflects on how we keep the spirit of fighting this illness a positive one.

Family hugging one another, support

Photo: Masterfile

Elana Waldman is a mother and wife who’s been battling ovarian cancer for the last seven years. Her Time to Shout blog has been running on since August 2010. Here, she shares what World Cancer Day means to her:

Today is World Cancer Day. I had written a whole diatribe about the juxtaposition between the Super Bowl and World Cancer Day because they’re only one day apart. I went on at some length about the difference between the two events and the fact that people are so much quicker to come together and celebrate a sports event than they are to come together on that kind of scale to work towards a cure for cancer. The Super Bowl brings together so many people to celebrate this sporting event. Cancer doesn’t seem to mobilize people in the same way. Is it because cancer is a negative thing to focus on or because there are too many ‘asks’ that people can’t always focus on the same issue continuously?

I deleted everything I had written because it felt like a forced discussion. The fact is that I feel torn about cancer awareness. We still need to do so much work. There is so much that is still unknown and there is so much still to discover. We seem to be so close to making huge discoveries in treatment with all the targeted therapies that are being developed now. However, are all the disparate campaigns causing donor fatigue? Are all the different ‘asks’ turning into white noise that people are able to ignore? I certainly hope not.

There is a balance that we walk when we push for all this attention on a continuous basis. There are so many good causes. There are so many illnesses that affect so many people. How can we ask people to focus on one illness? How can we continue to ask for more funds for more research when there are finite resources?

World Cancer Day reminds us that we must continue to focus on cancer. We must do everything we can to work towards a cure. So many people are living with cancer, affected by cancer or dying as a result of cancer. We must come together with the same energy that people put towards the Super Bowl. We must support research and we cannot let the requests turn into white noise.

Click here to read more from Elana Waldman.