Why I Decided to Form a Relay for Life Team

A little over a year ago, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. This wasn't much of a surprise. He used to be a smoker plus he was exposed to a variety of other toxins both in the military and in his wood shop so it probably was just a matter of time before it happened.

He has other health issues and, because of those, doctors were a bit reluctant to let him fight it. He, however, chose to go through radiation treatment and defeated it. Or, so we thought.

He injured his back last fall and, on Thanksgiving, the pain was intense enough to justify an emergency room visit. While there, they did a CT Scan and discovered nodes on his liver and, earlier this year, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer.

The most frustrating thing about this experience hasn't been the fact he has cancer. It is the ongoing reluctance, both because of his age and his other health problems, to even bother to fight it. The only option his doctors will even consider is immunotherapy and, because of the potentially deadly side effects of that treatment, they won't even talk about it until the cancer progresses to a point they can justify the risk.

On top of it, between this experience and conversations with a co-worker that was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer,  I'm starting to fully realize the major negative consequence of a privatized, for-profit healthcare industry - if you have cancer, there is a good chance you will only be informed of the treatments your healthcare provider can provide/make money from with no information given about other options.

The whole experience has been frustrating for everyone. With all the progress we have made with cancer, it is obvious there is still some ways to go.

For this reason, I decided to channel my frustration into something positive and form a Relay for Life team for the June 7 event here in Beaver Dam. My hope is for the team to raise at least $1,000 for the American Cancer Society.

If you are interested in contributing to my team (or forming a team yourself), the link is here:


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