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This week is particularly one that is reflective for me because it has a sad theme of cancer surrounding it. Sunday night I heard of an old acquaintance who passed after a long, painful battle with cancer, and he was only 27 years old. This deeply saddened me, as I knew he was once close to a dear friend of mine, and I was worried about her, but it also reminded me of our own mortality. As we spoke on the phone I asked how it is that we are so lucky? Cancer, as it has proven time and time again, has no M.O. It doesn’t target a specific person, nor are there many indications of who will and who won’t have it. Of course there are preventive measures for some cancers, but many creep into individuals lives, completely unexpectedly, and face them with the most challenging battle they will ever fight in.

This lead me to think about my amazing friend, Moira, who was taken from us a year ago, having suffered from many forms of cancer at once. Again, a beautiful, driven young woman, who never expected the disease and one day was hit with the most terrifying news of her life. After a long, painful and trying battle, we said goodbye to Moira last March and it was the first time I was personally affected by losing someone close to me with the disease. It’s painful to think about even now, because the beautiful memories and great times you had, are jaded by a bitterness that you feel for that person being taken so soon.

And the positive way to look at this is that these people are brought into our lives for a special purpose. We learn from them, love them, and now know what it’s like to care for someone so deeply that it hurts you to watch them suffer, and then sadly, pass away. I believe that Moira made me a better person, and that my friendship with her is something I will keep with me always and treasure.

I have known from a young age just how brutal cancer can be, as it has taken distant relatives and even found its way to my parents, who amazingly were able to beat it and are now healthy and cancer free. This is where my passion comes with volunteering and working with many cancer organizations. This is where my inspiration for THON came in, and how it literally SAVES the lives of children with cancer (thank you Penn State). In addition to this organization there is Relay for Life, American Cancer Society, St Jude’s, Target House, etc. which I like to stay closely involved with and support. These organizations raise millions of dollars a year and help fund treatments, support and research to one day DEFEAT cancer, so it can no longer take the ones we love away from us.

Cancer makes me appreciate life and those who were brought into it, even if it was for a short time. I know that I’m honoring Moira, my parents and those who have fought by continuing to fight for them; for a cure. That being said, cancer needs to end. The continued support we all give is what has the power to make it go away. I live for the day when cancer is one of those diseases that WE found a cure for, and that no one loses their life to anymore. For our kids, grand kids, the future… I hope it’s an old, distant memory that they never have to know the wrath of.

With a heavy heart this week,

Aurora

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