I got to spend a little time this week at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. I don’t know how many of you have ever seen this place. All I can say is WOW. I was overwhelmed by the facility (it’s huge and state of the art) and the amount of people seeking treatment there is amazing. There is so much hustle and bustle at the Center (they work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). You see a lot of different expressions on the faces of the people in attendance, fear, hope, anxiety, concern, and confusion. Just in the short amount of time I was there, I saw people from all over the United State and the world. Many of them had moved to Houston expressly for the cancer treatment options available at MD Anderson. Frankly, I loved the hustle and bustle of the Center. It made me feel like we are moving forward in the fight against cancer. With so many smart people and so much activity, we have to be making a difference.
Did you know that M.D. Anderson is one of the top 2 comprehensive cancer centers in the world? People come from all over for the hope offered here. This year alone, they will treat 76,000 cancer patients, one-third of those are coming from outside the state of Texas. Last year M.D. Anderson spent more than $342 million on cancer research. The center is able to offer so much to cancer patients thanks in part to the 1600 volunteers. Naturally, I started researching how I can volunteer. They have a program where you take your dog to visit the patients. I might see if the Carsonator has the temperament for it.
Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the number of people with cancer at M.D. Anderson. I had never really known anyone with Cancer until last year. I had heard about people…friend’s grandparents, acquaintances, but it had never hit close to home. Last year my Aunt went through cancer treatment and I can report she is Cancer free today. But no offense, she is older (however, I am not saying she is old..,50 is the new 30!). But in the last two months I have had two friends my age, both with 3 children under the age of 5, diagnosed with cancer (one of which I have called my best friend for 27 years). It has been a shock to all everyone who knows them. Sometimes I feel old because I get together with friends and we just talk about people’s ailments. Is that normal at 34? (Please note, my friend Bubba is still going through treatment, but at this point we are so thankful that he is Cancer free. Please keep the Bond & Lyons family in your prayers.)
I am a firm believer in fate, that everything happens for a reason, and that we should listen closely to the messages God is sending us. When I found out Julie was diagnosed with Cancer and got an opportunity at my company to work remotely for a few months, and heard from someone who was looking for a place to stay until the end of the year…to me that was a very clear sign! I was not needed in Washington, D.C., I was needed in Texas. There isn’t much I personally can do other than to be there and pick up any slack. Julie & Brendan have their hands full and just need life to keep moving forward as easy as possible. While I am here I plan to help with the kid (who doesn’t need help with 3 kids all under the age of 6!) I believe God gave me a gift when he made me good with children, and I think the signs all say that is where I can be of service. Lord knows you don’t want me to cook or decorate your house! Plus, these are a few more young minds that I can help develop into lean mean political machines. J
I enjoy taking care of kids because I get such a sense of accomplishment…even in the small stuff. For example, last night I changed Jackson’s diaper in the middle of the night without him waking up. I then walked out of the room with such a sense of accomplishment. Now is this really an accomplishment? Probably not…he probably sleeps like a rock and even a marching band in his room would not wake him. But to me, I had practically just climbed Mt. Everest because I provided a much needed service (really you should have smelt it) without upsetting the kids. And yes, that high is the same one I get when I kill a piece of bad legislation in Congress, or get legislation passed that I think will make a difference.
This has been a wake up call. I have been going through life knowing there was something horrible out there called Cancer, but I have not really done anything about it. I know what you are saying, what is she going to be able to do…she isn’t a doctor or a research scientist, or a miracle worker. That is very true…but what if the money I raise and donate happens to find a cure, or fund a research study that makes a new medical breakthrough for cancer? What if it my speaking about Skin Cancer to others causes them to go to the Doctor and saves their lives because of early detection? We all have a part to play in fighting this disease….and all the small parts add up to the role of a lifetime. We have to spread the word, educate people, raise money, and help relieve the suffering of those affected with Cancer. It is simply not enough to just reach out to the person you know suffering from Cancer. We have to think beyond our little world and try to make a lasting change. It’s our responsibility.