Monday, February 23, 2009

FIGHTING for Desiree


Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Harold Whitman

I am sitting in Houston, TX at MD Anderson with my dear friend Desiree who has relapsed a second time with lymphoma. The first time she fought was two years ago when I met her beautiful face. We were fast friends as we had so much in common. She has been a close friend, a fellow triathlete and my running buddy for 2 years. Desiree and I signed up for Ironman AZ this November to celebrate her victory over cancer….she will not be able to race due to the relapse. As well, she has 3 beautiful children. Ages 6,8 and 10…… I am sitting in the waiting room as she goes in to receive a 4 hour transfusion. Even though MD Anderson does a lot of things right…being in a hospital for JUST cancer patients will never feel ok to me. It makes it real, it brings it all back home.

I wanted to send word to your athletes. The injustice that cancer serves is not fair. And I am angry. I have observed since 9 AM and watched the walks of all those facing treatment, good news, bad news, new protocol….Cancer does not discriminate. Where I sit right now there are young and old, black, white & asian, upper class and lower class. Cancer doesn’t care that the economy is tanking or that we are trying to figure out a new health care system. Cancer doesn’t care if you have 3 children or hopes of having children one day. As active as it is…it has no REAL face. It carries the face of way too many people. There is no sense in who or why it chooses and that makes me angry. Nobody deserves this. As I walked around today and saw that MD Anderson has to add 600 more beds, my stomach dropped. I mean…they ONLY serve cancer patients, have an entire FLOOR for lymphoma and they need 600 more beds??? Apparently there is a waiting list, which is why I bring my friend down for one day (3 hour drive one way) because a bed overnight is not an option right now.

I have been around cancer for about 6 years now. My brother, my grandfather, myself, my Dad….many close friends and those from afar and I won’t ever get used to it. I don’t want to. For those of your athletes that might need that extra push out the door to their Finish Line in May….maybe this email will help. My friend Desiree will not be able to train or run for a long time as the road ahead of her is quite long. Will you get out of bed and do it for her? Will you get out of bed, train your asses off and hope for hospitals with empty beds?

I would love that.


Colleen

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