Pet Rocks are Pointless—Survivors have Purpose

by Sally Matheny
Survivors have Purpose
     Today is Pet Rock Day. I didn’t want a pet rock composition but when I initially began writing about the Relay for Life’s cancer survivors, I felt incompetent.  I can’t do cancer survivors justice because I’m not one.  Hard as I try to express their ordeals, I can’t even go skin deep where cancer is concerned.

Pet Rocks are Pointless

  But, pet rocks are pointless. Cancer survivors have purpose. Who cares about pet rocks? They have hearts of stone. Cancer patients feel fear, anger, and pain. Hopefully that's followed by love, comfort, and peace.


      I’ve experienced fear, anger, and pain. I know love, comfort, and peace. However, for those diagnosed with cancer, they quarry a new level of emotions from a different part of the heart—somewhere deep and previously untouched. A place the good health civilians have yet to discover.

     My desire is to tell those with cancer, don’t give up. You can do this. Sometimes they need to hear our cheers. Other times it's best for us to just be there and listen.  So, as much as my encouraging spirit wants to give a rally cry, I’ll refrain.  At least today.

     Today, I’m reflecting on the Relay for Life event we recently attended.  This year, we went especially to honor my husband’s sister, Susan, a survivor of thyroid cancer and amyloidosis.  Love and pride welled up as we watched her march around the track with her purple-shirted comrades. Seeing so many familiar faces brought bittersweet joy.  Some showed more battle-fatigue than others. Each clutched a purple balloon, soon to be released, to victoriously mark another year. As Susan neared the finish line, we met her with hugs and more balloons. The Relay for Life coincided with her 49th birthday this year. It was a wonderful evening for celebrating life.

Celebrating Another Year
      My family’s presence brought encouragement and support to Susan. We will continue to cheer her on in her journey the best way we know how. But all those, wearing shirts bearing the name SURVIVOR, will be the ones who understand best. Although each champion's path is unique, they’ve fought in that same valley called cancer.
      The bad news is 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will suffer from cancer.

      The good news is of January 1, 2014, there were nearly 14.5 million children and adult cancer SURVIVORS.  There is hope. Thanks to medical research, physicians, volunteers, donations, and definitely to prayer. Ten years from now, it's estimated the number of cancer SURVIVORS will increase to almost 19 million. (www.cancer.org)

       The best news is declarations of "cancer-free" and the discoveries of cures.    
       Friday, September 12 is Stand Up to Cancer Day. That’s better than Pet Rock Day because we can ALL participate. We  can volunteer, donate, and pray.

         How will you stand up to cancer?