A friend sent me a note the other day. She said she was looking forward to the holidays, to a break from cancer. As a caregiver to her husband, she made the decision to stop worrying and just appreciate each day for the next few weeks. Does that sound familiar? If you’ve experienced cancer in your life, you’ve probably said similar things.
Of course, it’s a bit of a folly. When cancer is a part of your life, you never really get a break from it. The nagging fears and concerns lurk in the crevices of our minds. Regardless of your situation – whether you’re stage 1 or stage 4 – the fear of recurrence, concerns about whether a treatment is working, wondering about side effects – it’s just a part of life with cancer.
When KCCure first formed, we had a long brainstorming session about our mission statement.
“The Kidney Cancer Research Alliance (KCCure) is a grassroots organization of patients, caregivers, doctors and medical researchers dedicated to eliminating suffering and death due to kidney cancer through increased funding to accelerate research that will lead to a cure for all patients and prevent future kidney cancer diagnoses.”
A discussion ensued around the last five words. Could we really PREVENT kidney cancer? Was that too ambitious? Most people would just be happy if we could cure their disease. It was Dr. Hammers who urged us to keep the language. Why wouldn’t we want to prevent the disease?
He’s right. The truth is, as long as kidney cancer exists, even if we have better treatments, more durable responses, there will always be “scanxiety” – there will always be the fear that comes with the diagnosis. Total elimination is the only way that any of us can ever have a real “break from cancer.”
We can’t give anyone that break this year. But, we’re taking a big step forward toward doing so. After just five short months together, we’ve raised enough money to offer our first pilot grant of $100,000 to fund cutting edge research in kidney cancer. The Request for Applications went out to Comprehensive Cancer Centers all over the country on Thursday and the first award will be announced in the spring of 2017.
To all of you who helped us get to this point through donations and support – Thank you! To all of the doctors and researchers who are working without a break – Thank you! To all of the patients and caregivers who need and deserve a break from cancer, KCCure is mission focused to make it a reality.