Project for AWESOME: American Cancer Society

Today is Project for Awesome for bloggers around the world! Happy P4A day to you! What we’re up to with Project For Awesome is to “create a world with less suck.” I’d sure like a world with less suck, wouldn’t you?!

We’ve been asked to write about a charity near and dear to our hearts that is working hard for AWESOME and pitching a fierce battle against SUCK. I’m sure you can guess where I’m headed with this one…the charity that means the most to me is the American Cancer Society.

I am lucky enough to work for ACS every day, and it’s no accident that brought me to the daily fight to kick cancer’s ass. Cancer had an early impact on my life, when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 15…I didn’t really know what that meant, other than it was scary. There were surgeries and chemo and radiation treatments, and mom was tired a lot. I was 15, and a girl, which means that my life was pretty vain, dramatic and self-absorbed. I don’t think I appreciated the extent of my mom’s battle for life.

As an adult, I now know just how fierce and brave my mom was in those years of intense treatment. She wasn’t showing my brother and I how HARD chemo is, and how sick, exhausted and nauseus it makes you feel. She carried on, and went back to her work teaching pre-primary special ed students as soon as she could.

By the time I was in college, Mom’s fight against cancer had become more serious. The cancer had spread and she was in need of a bone marrow  transplant…We hoped that she would be accepted into an apheresis clinical trial program at the Karmanos Cancer Center to save her life. It was a frightening year…My dad worked hard, hounding the docs and medical directors until Mom was accepted into the clinical trial. She endured harsh, intensive IV chemo treatments in the hospital to blast the cancer and nearly took her from us as well. There were scary days and middle-of-the-night drives from Lansing to Detroit to spend time with her.

We were blessed that the apheresis worked. After weeks of isolation on the hospital campus with the other patients in her trial, she was allowed to come home, bringing another family in the program with us, to live in our home while their treatments continued. We had a cancer-fighting summer camp that year. It was a challenging and a very special summer that I remember fondly.

Like so many cancer patients, mom’s fight didn’t end there – the battle waged on for years to come as the cancer came crawling back, each time a little different, requiring new strategies to stop it in its tracks. But stop it she did. My mom is the cancer miracle that I work for every day at the American Cancer Society. She’s beaten cancer every time, and is now retired and in remission. We pray that her cancer fight is retired as well.

So for this Project For Awesome Day, will you join my fight for a world with a whole lot more AWESOME cancer survivors like my mom and a lot less sucky cancer?
I’m throwing the gauntlet down now, and making a commitment to run the 2011 Chicago Marathon in honor of my mom. Those 26.2 miles scare the hell out of me, but not nearly as much as the thought of losing my mom to cancer. Join me in the fight & click to make a donation to support me in running 26.2 miles for the American Cancer Society and a world with less cancer and more birthdays for everyone.

Thank you, and may your holiday season be filled with love, life, laughter, less cancer and less suck!
-Jenn

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