Cancer rears its ugly head and strikes a family. And another family. And another family. It knows neither age nor gender. It distinguishes not among socio-economic levels, education achieved, professional successes. It doesn’t care.
Our household is no stranger to Cancer. Though they bore different identities, it was Cancer that took the lives of my husband’s father and step-mother, my paternal grandfather, my maternal grandmother, and my dad’s only brother at the very young age of 30. Both of my parents have been diligent in dealing with skin Cancer brought on by years of spectator sports and yard work performed in the sun with no skin protection save a light-colored shirt that allowed in plenty of UV rays.
My mother dodged a bullet back in 1990 when, by God’s grace, uterine Cancer was discovered before it had a chance to do much damage. Had she been younger, she might not have told the surgeon to just “take it all; I’m not having any more children”, she might have had to deal with much, much more than a scare. Her mother had died of uterine Cancer in 1950. My mother is the only daughter in her family. I’m the only daughter in mine. I had all the parts removed three years ago when precursor issues arose.
Cancer strikes busy professionals at the height of their careers. Cancer levels a blow to the travel and hobby plans of those planning the trip-of-a-lifetime to places far beyond our shores. Cancer deep sixes the dreams of kids too young to have to deal with the trauma of a deadly disease. It tears at the heartstrings of families and friends trying to make sense of it all while they seek solace, guidance, wisdom and strength from far beyond ourselves turning once again to God in an effort to gain what we have lost or may never have had.
Amid the turmoil and grief of relationships, professions, lives thrown a curve ball by Cancer, there is hope. We have the promise of new life in Him if we choose to take His Hand to guide us along the path we’ve been given. We have the comfort of family and friends who circle the wagons to provide support in the form of food, hugs, cards, a clean house, rides to school, yard work and, sometimes, dollars to help pay the bills our diminished ability to work have been left unaddressed.
Perhaps you don’t know of anyone in the throes of Cancer’s grip. Come experience the joy of helping a brother in Christ fight Cancer in the form of leukemia. Get in on the blessing of your family learning they can, in fact, spare part of that with which you’ve been blessed to help his family make up the slack caused by his inability to work while he battles for his life and his wife attempts to give care both in and out of the hospital.
So often we don’t know how we can help. We don’t know these folks. Why would they want to hear from us?
Cancer knows no strangers and neither does the battlefield on which the tug-of-war against Cancer is waged. We have an opportunity to help one of our own as he fights to get back to his job and his personal ministry as a member of the Living Stones Praise Band at Winder First UMC, to his wife and daughter holding vigil, respectively, at Emory University Hospital and at college.
Cancer’s effects have been devastating to Jeff and Ginger Duren’s finances over the past two years. Now Jeff is at Emory slowly recovering from a bone marrow transplant doctors pray will be successful in helping this man return to his family, home, church, job and friends.
Mark your calendars: Saturday, April 24th. Winder First UMC Fellowship Hall, 280 N. Broad Street, Winder (across from Ingles). An Evening with Soulshine and Speaker Mark Shelley. The Quartermasters will kick off the evening at 5:15 pm. Come have dinner with us – all food proceeds to benefit the Duren family with love offering being accepted. Nursery provided for the little folks. Can’t attend in person? Make your gift to “Winder First UMC”, mark your check “The Duren Family”, and drop in the mail to the church.
Cancer is nasty no matter how you look at it. Help this family fight it with all you’re worth.
Helen Person is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.