Sunday, May 27, 2012

American Cancer Society (Sponsored Video)

It was a Tuesday afternoon in 1998.  I was working part-time at my Dad's insurance agency while I was finishing up my college degree.

Dad was sitting in his blue, executive-style chair and talking to me about a client file that he was holding in his hand: quotes to run, benefit summaries to copy, people to call.

I was standing beside his L-shaped, mahogany desk when the phone rang.  Dad answered it, and I quickly noticed the change in his tone, and a quiet fear that filled the room.

It was the doctor's office.  The test results were back.

I stood there, listening.  I kept waiting for that moment when Dad would say, "Phew!  I'm glad everything is okay.  Thank you for your call".  He'd smile a smile of relief and I'd do the same.  We'd high-five each other and step across the street to the coffee shop for some celebration cheesecake.  And we'd laugh about how we were worried over nothing.

I waited for that moment, but that moment never came.

I could only hear Dad's side of the conversation.  Although he didn't say that much - mostly just "uh huh" or "okay" - it was the words he didn't say that told the story.  


I kept on standing there.  I wanted to walk away, but I couldn't move.  I guess I thought that if I stood there long enough, I'd get to hear him say, "Phew!  I'm glad everything is okay.  Thank you for your call."

Eventually, I walked out of the office door and stood in the long, narrow hallway.  I leaned against the wall and let my head rest underneath a framed photograph that I gave Dad for Father's Day.

My body felt thick, heavy.  Simple tasks like breathing and thinking didn't feel that simple anymore.  I couldn't breathe.  I couldn't think.  Is my Dad going to die?

Cancer. Stupid, dumb cancer.

My Dad was only 44-years-old when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.   Soon after he received those biopsy results on the phone, he had major surgery.  Radiation, chemotherapy and several more surgical procedures followed.

No matter what physical obstacle he faced, I never saw him get discouraged.

One day, I asked him how people can find the strength to fight cancer.  How can you go through so much and not want to give up?

Dad said that survival is the core of the human spirit.  And when you are faced with death, you will keep fighting because life is that precious.

It's been 14 years since my Dad received that phone call.

I think about all the wonderful experiences that he's had since then like watching all three of his daughters graduate from college, get married, have children, and start working full-time in our health insurance agency.  He's held five precious grandchildren in his arms.  He and my Mom have built their dream home.  They've traveled to all the places that didn't have time to visit before.  He's been an elected leader in his field on a local, state and national level.  He's been appointed to serve on insurance advisory boards by the Governor and the Insurance Commissioner.  He's helped people.  He's made a difference.

The past 14 birthdays have given him so much.  So many wonderful memories that cancer tried to steal from him.

That's why I was so excited when the American Cancer Society asked me to partner with them for the Relay For Life® campaign.

For almost 100 years, the American Cancer Society has been saving lives by helping people get well, stay well, find cures, and fight back.  They are giving people more birthdays!  People just like my Dad.

How can you get involved?  It's easy!

1) Watch this 30-second video.  And be inspired.

2) Get involved.  Please consider making a donation, participating in an event, volunteering, or getting new laws passed.  Find out more about how you can help here.

3) Light a candle.  Think of someone you know who has faced cancer - maybe a family member, a friend, or even yourself - and light and candle for them.  

I'm lighting a candle today for my Dad, my Aunt Sharon, my Uncle Joe, my friend Chip, and an unspoken family member.

Who would you light a candle for?  Please share a name in the comment section below.  

This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society. 


  1. For my father, Gerald and my cousin Jeff. RIP.

  2. Thank you so much for your willingness to partner with Relay. My sister passed from cancer in 2007 and since then I have been active in our local relay. The only way to end those horrible diagnoses is to fight. We fight by raising money for research and raising money to help those who are battling cancer. Thank you!

  3. For my grandmother Norma Grizzle. I miss her everyday.

  4. For my dad, who lost his battle in 1995, and my four year old son who won his in December 2010.

  5. Ed, personal friend -- J, Dad, Sharon, Joe

  6. I light a candle for the defeat of cancer for Rick. I light a candle for those everywhere fighting cancer. Our pastor Ed, Ron, Jeannie, an unspoken family member and many others. I light a candle in memory of my brother Joe, sister (in law) Sharon, my Granddaughter's coach Chip, and many others. Too many taken too soon. Stupid MEAN Cancer.

  7. Cancer is an awful thing, but it can definitely be beaten. My grandfather had cancer, but he died. I can feel for all those who have had a family member lost to cancer.

  8. Ok, now I truly know we're kindred spirits. My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer my Sr year of college as well. The only difference is my parents didn't tell me until after I graduated because they "didn't want to worry me during finals"... blessings to you and your family for those 14 birthdays, the last 15 for us have been gifts as well and sometimes I even forget how blessed we really were until I read a story of someone that wasn't as blessed.

  9. i would light a candle for my old Memaw,she was my great grandma she had breast cancer and was a survivor, sadly she died in 2005 thankfully not from cancer though. i would light a candle for a very close family friend she had stage 3 breast cancer when diagnosed, she is still battling, 2 months tip chemotherapy is over then comes radiation she is like my grandma since i live with my grandparents, (i'm only 14) and my grandma is my mom so i never really had a grandma figure, so she is lol i really hope she gets better :)
    i would also light one for you, i seriously feel like i know you cause of your blog lol i hope you get better.
    my friend ally's mom and club 253 leader (a christain club at my skool) she was just diagnosed with cancer
    and last but not least, my friends mom Nicole, she survived cervical cancer, and got pregnant while in chemotherapy. sammy is a miracle baby she just turned 2 and is perfectly healthy and happy :)

    i have a lot more people in my family but these are the main people it would be very long list and these are the people i know the best or met, so ya

  10. o and also a boy at might school Spencer, he is special needs and came to our school when i was in 6th grade 2 years ago, and he won the battle and is very happy now :)