September is National Blood Cancer Month, National Lymphoma Month, National Childhood Cancer month also. These three annual recognitions actually tie in with one another, as lymphoma is often recognized as a childhood cancer. Of lymphoma, and which I can personally speak of, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is such a rare cancer, it makes up only 1% of the cancer diagnosis. Strangely, it also boasts one of the higher cure rates for a cancer, yet it is also one of the most underfunded cancers. Imagine, to be so close to finding a cure for everyone, yet it is not a priority for research because the current cure rate is acceptable. I strongly disagree.
My story, like so many other long term survivors, have long medical histories of maladies that have struck us, and will effect us the rest of our lives. It was our trade off for beating cancer. For many of us, we often wonder if it was ever worth it. Today, better and safer treatments, yield similar success stories without the severity of the side effects like many face, however, recurrences of their lymphoma are more frequent, and for some, still not successful.
My case in point. The story of Alese Coco. A television commercial aired several years ago which caught my attention. To be honest, it was quite graphic. And as a Hodgkin’s survivor, initially I felt offended at such a graphic commercial. But then the reality hit me. This commercial was the truth. Please view the following link for the actual commercial:
Now if you are sitting there thinking, that is awful, and you really do not want to see more, that is where you could not be more wrong. The truth is, any illness capable of taking a life, needs to have a cure found. Sometimes it takes putting a face to a disease makes it hit closer to home. As it stands right now, you have two faces, my face which is on the front of “Paul’s Heart” and Alese. We are just normal people, not famous by any means. So let me make lymphoma famous. Here are a list of several celebrities who have battled lymphoma, and yes, even with the fame and money, still could not win their battle:
Paul Azinger – professional golfer
John Cullen and Saku Koivu- professional hockey players
Mario Lemieux – professional Hall Of Fame Hockey player and owner of the Penguins
Andres Gallaraga – professional baseball player for the Braves
Arte Johnson – famous comedian from “Laugh-in” days
Leshon Johnson and Carl Nelson – New York Giants football players
Lauren Hart – singer for the Philadelphia Flyers pregrame
Charles Lindgburgh – famed flyer died from Lymphoma
Charles Lowe – father of actors Robe Lowe and Chad Lowe
Mickey Mantle – famous New York Yankee
Roger Maris – Hall of Fame baseball player died from Lymphoma
Jackie Kennedy Onassis – former First Lady died from Lymphoma
Joey Ramone – Rock N Roller
Dan Rowen – comedian from Laugh-in died from Lymphoma
Fred Thompson – actor and US Senator
Arlen Spector – US Senator died from complications of Lymphoma
Mr. T. – actor from the A-Team television show
Gene Wilder – comedian and actor (wife Gilda Radnor died from Ovarian cancer)
Vivian Campbell – guitarist for Def Leppard (just completed treatment for a recurrence of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma)
Andy Whitfield – actor who portrayed “Spartacus” in the Starz mini-series died from lymphoma
Having been a fan of that mini-series, it struck me as odd that someone so physically in shape and strong, could have faced such a fate. So now I have put a lot of famous faces to Lymphoma. Imagine, but chances are you know more than 1% of the people I listed, yet the statistic is what it is. Now imagine 1% of the people in your lives. Imagine the 1% of the people in the world.
So, let us meet another non-famous person, teenager Roxanne:
For me personally, I have met hundreds of cancer patients, not just lymphoma patients. They all have faces. They will never be famous. But I will never forget what they have gone through, and for many, what they have lost. So if you are reading this, you know at least one person who has battled lymphoma. And I am telling you, we are so close to finding a cure for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. And that is why I am making every effort I can, during this month of September, to make everyone aware of Lymphoma. You can donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Cancer Society if you wish. But more importantly, share this article. Help me to help others put a face to Lymphoma.