In a previous blog, we talked about the ugly side of cancer. This time, we will talk about the beautiful things that this deadly disease has brought to the world.
When you hear the word “cancer,” you almost always think of suffering, hardships, and mourning families. For some people, however, being diagnosed with this life-threatening disease is not a life sentence. In fact, for some of them, being diagnosed with cancer became the catalyst to change their lives for the better. In doing so, they were not only able to improve their lives, but the lives of those around them. Truth be told, some of them were also able to impact not only their immediate circle, but the entire world as well.
Here are some inspiring stories brought about by a cancer diagnosis.
Making A Dream Come True
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is an organization that grants the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. This is a very noble aim, considering that the children afflicted with deadly diseases are often living on borrowed time. If all it takes is to make their dream come true is to meet their favorite artist or athlete, or go to Disneyland, then who are we to deny them?
Dad and former tech executive Jon Chambers did more than that. He jumpstarted the Diagon Alley Project, which recreated the famous Harry Potter stop in Seattle, WA. According to Chambers, he asked his daughters one day what they would want for Halloween, and the girls immediately suggested a Harry Potter theme. He turned in his notice at work and worked on the project.
It started small. He coughed up his own money and started a Go Fund Me for the project. In one month, his Go Fund Me page reached its goal. The small Diagon Alley from the backyard then spiraled into an even bigger project, with people from all over the world pitching in to make it as close to the Potter World as possible.
What makes this project really interesting is that the proceeds of the project are donated to the Pancreatic Cancer Research. Chambers’ friend and fellow tech entrepreneur, Matt Bencke, succumbed to the disease on October 18 this year. Matt’s family, friends, and fellow bandmates are honoring his memory by ensuring that the research about pancreatic cancer can continue to create better outcomes for its patients. The donations from the Diagon Alley Project are being forwarded to Purple Stride. To date, the Diagon Alley Project has donated at least $13,000 to the pancreatic cancer cause.
Random acts of kindness have been recurring themes in society. There are few times that it has transcended being in the background and has been brought out in the limelight. One of these instances is when a dying girl asked people to be kind.
Rebecca Schofield, a 17-year-old diagnosed with a type of brain cancer, was given three months to a year to live. This is after two years of brain surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. When she was given the very dire prognosis, Rebecca decided to take matters into her hands: she will fulfill her bucket list. The bucket list started out simple, such as going out of the country and playing board games. Then it took a turn to invite the rest of the world.
“I wanted to leave my mark,” Becca says. “I wanted to do my part to change the world.” As such, the movement #BeccaToldMeTo came to life.
The idea about the movement is very simple: do something kind for somebody and then post about it on social media with the hashtag #BeccaToldMeTo. These random acts of kindness do not need to have a monetary value: it could be as simple as opening the door to a stranger, or giving someone a smile. Becca adds, “It’s not easy for me to do acts of kindness myself. I can’t walk right now.”
True enough, this very simple wish has spiraled to the point where thousands of people started posting their good deeds on their social media profiles or on Becca’s Facebook support page.
Since support for the #BeccaToldMeTo campaign has grown, Becca has been named an honorary emerging leader by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A Becca Scofield Day is also being celebrated in New Brunswick every September 16.
As for Becca, she continues to thrive and remain optimistic despite very dire circumstances. As the teen said, she cannot help it that she has cancer, nor can she control the outcome. What she has control over is her reaction to it, and she refuses to be bitter.
Jumpstarting A Business
Many people with cancer are forced to resign from work to recuperate, or to take an extended leave of absence while they deal with their illness. Then there are some lucky people who have had their cancers diagnosed early, and are able to change their lives for the better. Such is the case for Honeydrop Beverages founder David Luks. He was a tenured Pepsico marketing executive, and knew the food business inside out. In 2006, life as he knew it was turned around. He was recently married, perfectly healthy, and active — and then he was diagnosed with early-stage testicular cancer. This, he said, completely redefined his “definition of healthy.”
Three years after his diagnosis and surgery, he used up his credit line and personal savings to launch Honeydrop Beverages. It is a brand that offers low-calorie and fresh-brewed teas and natural juices made with raw honey.
On the company website, Luks writes, “The idea behind Honeydrop is simple. We believe that pure, raw, whole foods are the best thing for health and well-being, which is why we add a tablespoon of superfood raw honey to our drinks.” This business venture has obviously worked out for the best for Luks, as the products are now being sold in groceries and specialty stores nationwide.
As these three stories show, being diagnosed with cancer is not supposed to be the end your story. You can help conquer the stigma by encouraging others to turn their diagnosis into an inspiration to do better for the world.
With any disease, prevention is key
Maintaining a positive outlook is contagious, but it would not hurt to make a habit out of consulting your doctor to detect any abnormal growth in your body. If not, you risk developing painful and deadly illnesses. If you are suffering from a type of cancer, New Hope Unlimited will help find ways to treat you using less conventional, yet effective methods. Call us today or fill out our online form.