I know you see them.
Young women eating lunch with their girlfriends, a brightly colored scarf tied around their heads, taking the place of missing locks. Men, skinny and gaunt, barely able to stand, being pushed around the fair in a standard sized wheelchair that still seems to dwarf their appearance. The numb expressions. The bruises on their arms.
And I know what you think: Thank God it's not me. Thank God my children are healthy. But what if...
And then you turn your head. Avoid eye contact. Act aloof when really your heart has started to beat faster than you want it to because, please no - but what if....
Ask anyone battling cancer and they'll tell you the same thing. I just wish people saw me; not the cancer.
It's as if they're forced to wear an obvious costume out in public and they would do anything to be able to tear that costume off and yell can you see me now? I am still here! It's me!
They would give anything to blend in with the crowd. To be normal once again. To feel secure in normal...
The other day I received a note with a donation as I do with so many of the donations that have been trickling in.
The gentleman told me this money was being donated in the name of his mother and mother-in-law who he had lost to cancer (unfortunately I'm finding these types of donations to be far too common)... but then he said something I wasn't ready for. He said he was a cancer survivor.
This man, who I consider to be a friend - who is witty and funny and quiet and calm and intelligent and quirky and has this devilish smile his eyes - is a cancer survivor. And I had no idea.
I know that he has children who he talks about with pride and love.
I know that he likes to cook and doesn't drink and documents the deer that eat and play in his yard.
I know he catches fish and that he drove the ambulance I was in when I was being rushed to the hospital at 7 months pregnant. But I didn't know he was a cancer survivor.
And I'm thinking if anyone needs a superhero cape to wear out in public it would be a cancer survivor. I'm thinking every person who survives cancer deserves a trophy and a high-five and a big HOORAH! And I can only imagine how beautiful the world would be if every cancer survivor wore their cape proudly out in public on the same day.
I believe the feeling of strength, and faith, and hope would permeate across the crowds and I, myself, would smile, being surrounded by such courage.
We need more superhero capes to hand out. We need to find a way for more survivors.
To donate, please use the donate button on the right side of this blog post.
All proceeds will go to the Walworth County Cloggers' 2011 Relay For Life Team to benefit the American Cancer Society.