Hearing you have cancer is one of those moments in life that you never forget. Like when you hear about the assassination of a President or the tragic events of 9/11 - the moment is forever emblazoned in your brain. Where you were, what you were wearing, what trivial thing you had been thinking about moments before your world turned upside down.
What happens next is a whirlwind of scary newness. Meetings with countless doctors, second opinions (if you're lucky enough to live near choices of health care), coming to terms with ugly terms like 'chemotherapy', 'radiation', 'hair loss', 'survival odds'.
You form a treatment plan with your doctor, you tuck in and you fight. You fight with everything you've got. You pray. You ask for help. And then you pray some more.
There are so many things that you could never know about cancer until you've been through it, though.
How powerless it makes your loved ones feel. How expensive it is. How where you receive treatment has a lot to do with your odds of survival, especially if you have a rarer form of cancer.
Sometimes to get the care you need you have to uproot your whole life and head to where the right care for you is located. If you're lucky you can afford to do this, hopefully bringing at least one loved one along. If you're lucky, you can afford to have your kids come visit. If you're lucky.
If you're like most of America, though, the cost of cancer, even under the best of circumstances, is mind-boggling. For those who have to travel to save their lives, the cost is staggering.
I wrote already about how Heather and I are giving a keynote speech at a fund raiser for St. Agnes House in Lexington, KY this weekend.
I'm writing about it again, because I know from first hand experience how meaningful it is to hear about resources like St. Agnes House when your head is swimming with fear, logistics, expenses, doctors and treatment plans. Having an affordable place to stay while you're receiving treatment allows you to focus on what is most important: the fight.
It also provides a community space to meet other patients or family members who understand how you feel. I cannot stress enough how important this is; most everyone is supportive when they learn you have cancer, but unless you've been through it yourself you can't totally understand. Like losing a parent, or having an addiction, or being a parent - the people who understand the most are the ones who are walking the path with you.
So I'm putting out one last plea for donations to St. Agnes House. What they are doing to help is so important. I'm one of the lucky ones - I live near world class care. I'm not exaggerating when I say I cannot imagine going through what I went through in a foreign city, adding more expense and fear to what was already an expensive and frightening experience.
I know most of us don't have extra money lying around. I hate asking for money, and I only do it for causes that I believe in with all my heart.
Did you know that the statistics about cancer are getting really scary? I heard recently that one in three people will be afflicted with some form of cancer in their lifetime. So even if cancer has never touched your life directly; odds are that someday it will (either yourself or a loved one), so donating to cancer causes and cancer research organizations is something that impacts all of us.
So please consider going to St. Agnes House's website and donating (at the splash page it will ask you to click on the device you're using, and then it will take you to their home page, where there is a "donate" button). $70 pays for a family to stay for a week. $30 pays for a weekend. $5 makes a difference.
And if you can't afford to donate; will you please share this post on your facebook page or twitter account? Will you please help me get the word out about St. Agnes House? They rely on donations, so every bit of help matters.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping in some way - whether you donate or spread the word. I appreciate it so much, and you are literally helping to save the life of someone suffering from cancer.
Here is the link to St. Agnes House's home page: http://www.stagneshouse.org/