April 29th is Relay for Life in my city, where many community members, my team and family ‘Hendren Clan’ and survivors will be walking to find a cure. If you’ve ever participated in a Relay for Life, you know why it is such a special event. Cancer is a disease that is on the rise and does not discriminate by age, sex, religion, sexual identity or race, but it is devastating!
I have been personally touched by the loss cancer causes, my dad’s family is riddled with the disease, I have lost grandparents, aunts, uncles and it never gets easier.
In late 2010, my aunt on my mum’s side was (surprisingly) diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and she was the type of person that did everything right – ate healthy, exercised, didn’t smoke and didn’t consume large amounts of alcohol. It threw our family off so badly. While she was fighting and beating her Breast Cancer, my Grandpa was suddenly diagnosed with late stage lung cancer that had metasticized, which is when they found it. He was given a diagnosis of months, unfortunately 3 weeks later, on April 2nd, 2011, he passed away surrounded by many of our family members.
I’ll be honest, I had known death previous to that day, but I had never been touched by the death of a person who meant that much to me and six years later I’m still struggling with the death of my Grandpa. He’ll never meet my unborn child, he never met Jared, didn’t get to see me graduate university – cancer took the opportunity for us to share these memories together.
So, to the original purpose of the post, why do I Relay? I relay because I don’t want my future generations to suffer the way I’ve suffered, to struggle with their mental health the way my family members and I did because our loved one was taken so quickly! I hadn’t seen him conscious since Christmas break, as I lived away for school, and I wish I could have had the opportunity to talk to him in person just one more time.
Let’s beat cancer together, donate today to fund cancer research so this disease that tears apart so many families each and every year.
Myself, my sister, my mum and my nephew at the 2016 Relay for Life.