Cancer touches the lives of everyone at this point. When my good friend and former colleague, my "cancer sister" as we called ourselves, passed away due to cancer, I was devastated. At that point, I was still in the midst of my own treatment and grieved for so many things. When my friend's husband, also a colleague, passed the following year, it felt personal. It is difficult to accept that you have been spared (at least for now) for whatever reason, but others are not there to be with their loved ones. That reality hit hardest when I attended the 2018 Survivors' Night at Frontier Field. Christine should have been there with her family; Chris should have been there with his. Since then, I--we--have seen more diagnoses and lost more friends and colleagues. One of my dearest childhood friends was diagnosed early this year. There are few things that we can control, but I can do something to help other families and survivors.
I initially created a team to honor former Webster teachers Christine Bohannon and Chris Barnes. This team is forever meant to honor their memory, but it is also a way to honor or remember anyone in our lives impacted by cancer. If you would like to walk in memory of them or honor anyone else, please sign up to walk one mile whenever and wherever you would like sometime between Sept 10 and 12. If you are unable to walk and would like to donate, please do! If you can do both, even better! Share this link and help the team get as many donations as possible. Thank you so much!
Now that this is my fourth Warrior Walk, my motivations are stronger than ever. Research needs funding and medical advancements are happening. Having cancer puts you in a club that nobody wants to be in, but once you are, you have a circle of people that understand something about you a little bit differently. I don't want my "circle" to get any bigger.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1,633,390 new cases of cancer were reported and 595,919 people died in the U.S. (this includes D.C. and Puerto Rico) in 2015. The most recent data (2018) says that there were 1,708,921 new cases with 599,265 deaths.
Cancer is still the second leading cause of death in the U.S., exceeded only by heart disease.
One of every four deaths in the U.S. is due to cancer.
The overall five-year relative survival percentage for U.S. patients with invasive cancers is 66.2%. a slight improvement of 65.6% in 2015. It estimates the percentage of patients who will survive their cancer five years after diagnosis. To give some perspective, the five-year relative survival percentage of patients with pancreatic cancer is now 11.7 %, up from 8.5% in 2015. Still totally UNACCEPTABLE.
The Warrior Walk is a key fundraiser for Wilmot Cancer Institute. Proceeds support the Judy DiMarzo Cancer Survivorship Program and cancer research efforts at WCI. My goal is to raise a ton of money for research so we no longer have to accept cancer as a normal and frequent part of our lives. I looked at recent advances in cancer research and they are promising. The FDA has recently approved a new drug, Lumakras, as a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer. It can also help with pancreatic and colorectal tumors. Strides are also being made with biologics and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). These will allow doctors to more accurately and effectively deliver treatment to specific cancer cells. Researchers are making huge strides and they need our help!! This is where we come in. Please help. Christine and Chris were too young! No more!
If you would like to walk in support of a particular person in your life, feel free to wear a shirt and/or ribbon indicating the cancer associated with the individual(s) you plan to honor. If you choose, you can take a photo and post it to social media with the hashtags #WilmotWarrior and #bohannonbarneslegacy. If you are not sure of the color, feel free to contact me and I will do my best to find out for you.
Here are some for reference:
Christine Bohannon (lymphoma)-lime green
Chris Barnes (colorectal cancer)-dark blue
breast cancer- pink
head and neck cancer-burgundy and cream
uterine and endometrial cancer-peach
bladder cancer-Kelly green
cervical cancer-white and teal
thyroid cancer-blue, teal, and pink
prostate cancer-light blue
bladder cancer-blue, purple, and marigold