I recently read that over 12 million people are currently battling some form of cancer in America. That’s a staggering number. But what I also learned in my reading was that the remission rate overall has risen more than 20% in the last forty years, which brings overall cancer survival to over 65%. We have come such a long way to the days when cancer was an immediate death sentence. But we still have so far to go.
I think that just about everyone knows someone who’s battled cancer at some point in their lives. With me it was my grandfather. Cancer doesn’t discriminate. But neither does remission: all forms of cancer can boast at least some, if not many, survivors. And this Sunday is National Cancer Survivors Day.
This experience, having cancer, changes the patient and everyone around them, forever. It’s a pivotal moment in their life, and surviving it is a triumph that is worth celebrating every day. Which is why I think it’s neat that people wear cancer awareness ribbons not only to mourn the lost, but to celebrate the living. It’s a great testament to the positivity that can be found by surviving such an experience.
June is cancer awareness month in general, so while each form of cancer has corresponding colored cancer awareness ribbons, cancer awareness in general is always a lavender awareness ribbon. These are great pieces for those of us who haven’t been touched with cancer in our lives but want to support the 12 million who do, and it’s also a great commemorative piece for survivors and as tributes.
While my grandfather eventually succumbed to cancer some years ago, I’ll still wear a cancer awareness ribbon this Sunday in memory of him, and in honor of the millions of cancer survivors who are out and about today thanks to doctors, medicine, and an unbeatable will to live.