I wanted to take this time to say a few things about something that’s been weighing on my mind. As a writer, I tend to express myself in that medium, about a great many things. Here, I have something to say about a topic that is particularly relevant (it’s been all over the news) in general, but also to me personally.
Breast cancer sucks. I say that as someone who has known women (and one man) who has battled it, as someone who knew someone who lost her battle with it, and as someone who is currently personally affected by it. That said, I’m fortunate. Mine was caught early. It was non-invasive and stage 0.
So I know what organizations and foundations can do to help people who battle cancer. I’m also incredibly fortunate because I have health insurance, and in America, which is supposedly one of the greatest nations in the world, a third of the people in our country cannot afford health insurance. So they have to rely on organizations and foundations to provide low-cost healthcare and screenings, in hopes that diseases like cancer are caught early and can be treated before they’ve progressed.
But there’s a more important message here.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate. I know you’ve heard that many times, but think about it. Really think about that. Cancer doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your ethnic background, your overall state of health, whether you’ve got a history of cancer in your family, what you look like, what your politics are, what religion you are, or who you come home to at night. It doesn’t care who you are, who you know, or what you do for a living. It doesn’t care how much money you make, how many times you go to church (or whether you go at all), who your friends are, or whether you have healthcare or not. If you do have healthcare in this country, you’re lucky. Because thousands of people don’t. Cancer does not care about these things.
It is an equal opportunity destroyer.
Where breast cancer is concerned, thousands of women are affected every freaking day by this disease. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t known someone who has had breast cancer, or who hasn’t had to deal with it herself (or, in some cases, himself).
Because of how healthcare is and isn’t in this country, I do not begrudge an organization providing low-cost cancer screenings to women through grants from other organizations. I ENCOURAGE it. If something is caught early, it’s easier to deal with, and, for those of you who are money-obsessed, it’s cheaper in the long run to ensure that something’s caught early and dealt with ASAP than long-term care for the heinous-ness that is cancer.
There is no place, thus, for crap in the battles against cancer. There is no place for political asshattery, or self-righteous religious interpretations of who is worthy enough to receive treatment or screenings, or what organizations are worthy enough to offer screenings. CANCER DOESN’T CARE WHAT YOU BELIEVE. And it certainly doesn’t care whether you care or not.
I, however, am NOT cancer. And I DO care about my fellow travelers who have to deal with it. I don’t care where you get your screenings. I don’t care what the people who are employed at those facilities think politically or religiously. I don’t care whether you’re poor or rich. I’m just glad you have somewhere to go to get those screenings, and that there’s money to help fund those screenings if you can’t afford it.
So if you have a religious and/or political issue with an organization that provides cancer screenings for low-income women, then don’t use their facilities. Really. It’s that simple. Use another facility or start your own foundation to provide whatever restricted funding you want to help people who are only like you or only think like you do. I don’t begrudge you that. Just leave the organizations you don’t like alone. Thousands of women rely on them, and I want them to get screenings and healthcare and access to treatment if they are diagnosed. I want YOU to get screenings and access to treatment if YOU’RE diagnosed, even though you probably wouldn’t want the same for me because of your beliefs. Regardless, I want as many facilities and organizations available to help with that.
So instead of trying to take money away from organizations that do something you don’t like, how about focusing instead on finding cures and treatments for cancer for everyone, and leaving your beliefs and politics out of that? Because cancer does not care about those, and it certainly doesn’t care about you. I, however, do.
I’ll leave you with Linda here, in Las Vegas, who I think sums it up very well:
So please, get your screenings as you can, and please don’t begrudge others where they get theirs. Cancer is a great equalizer, because it doesn’t care. Remember that.