I checked out xkcd’s latest strip today, and found myself almost crying.
I don’t talk about it much, but my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer back in the early 90s. Not to downplay her struggle, which was not easy, but it was a rough time for me. I’d just finished high school. The prospect of losing my mother wasn’t due for at least another 30 years, right? In the end, it seems she was just too stubborn to let cancer win. (That isn’t true, though. Cancer can’t be beat by pure stubbornness. In the end, we just got lucky.)
In the years since, though, I’ve been especially sensitive to friends who are facing cancer in their own families. One of my very close friends lost his mother to pancreatic cancer a few years ago. My childhood neighbor lost his mother to breast cancer a couple of weeks ago. Every time someone tells me about cancer striking their family, I feel as terrible as I did on the day my mother told me she had it. But also, in the very back of my mind, I feel a little bit guilty. Maybe it’s because my mother survived, and there’s no certainty that my friend will be so lucky. Or maybe it’s because I feel like there’s something more I can do to help.
So this morning, I did something I’ve never done before. I sent money to a charity. I’ve always felt like throwing money at a problem is an impersonal solution, similar to giving money to a homeless person just to make them leave you alone. But maybe in this case it’s an investment. After all, I’m probably due to get the “Big C” diagnosis in the next ten years myself, right?