Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lance issues wake-up call

Every two days, we have another 9/11 - 1,500 people die each day from cancer.

That's the message from Lance Armstrong, who is on a noble crusade to wake up the world and slothful American politicians more interested in achieving personal triumph instead of serving humanity. This morning, Dori called me from the hospital to alert me that Lance would be appearing on Meet the Press. A link of the program can be found here, while a Take 2 link is available here.

The statistics are staggering - 1.3 million people diagnosed with cancer each year in our country, 600,000 a year die, and 1 in 7 will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. The "pervasive" problem, Lance says, is only going to get worse. Meanwhile, some presidential candidates are ducking the issue, and Congress is cutting funding while going on a profligate pork spending spree (ever read about earmarks?). The cancer problem is complex (200 types), and silos exist everywhere. Now throw in Lance, a cancer survivor who captured our fascination by winning seven Tours de France. His Foundation, linked on this page, has sold 60 million yellow Livestrong bracelets. He is mobilizing a political army. It's encouraging.

If you're like me, you have friends with whom you'd share a foxhole. Lance, who I of course don't know, is near the top of my list. I realized today what I'm doing by raising money and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is one tiny cog in a giant wheel. Many people are doing something similar as part of their busy lives.

That wheel that steers to a cure for cancer may now have direction with Lance behind it. But the engine isn't Lance, it's people united in a common cause. People like you and me. In our little corner of the planet, many of you have helped already by donating money to LLS. But you and I can do more. Some of these things include:

- Contacting your senators and congressman, asking them to focus attention on the cancer epidemic.
- Giving generously and consistently to the foundations and societies that are researching for a cure/cures. Professional fighters go down after many blows, not just a few. Cancer doesn't want to lose, but we must knock it out.
- Making the issue top of mind and speech. People influence people. Buy a yellow LiveStrong bracelet. Tell your friends this issue belongs at the top of our national conversation. Share personal stories in forums, media, the dinner table, wherever.

My mom, sister Anne and I have talked about how there are two types of people in this world, "those that get it and those that don't." I think you know what this means, but here's an explantion. My view is that one pack is pursuing personal belongings and gratification or maybe stuck in a rut from something circumstantial. Sometimes, we go in and out of this "condition." This morning, Dori and I laughed/shook our heads when we read about an SEC football coach, who after years of watching his players have trouble with the law, say "we're kinda drawing the line." Meanwhile, other programs have little to no trouble because the coaches drew the line a long time ago, and golly gee, the players stay out of trouble. Go figure.

The people in Pack Two have had their life-changing epiphanies and are busy helping, consoling and sacrificing any way they can. When they wake up, they spring to action to make our temporal life better and prepare for the next life; when they go to sleep, they recount, reflect and pray for intercession from our God. Dori, Mom, Anne and I know many of these people - we're fortunate to be around them.

I don't know if Lance is a man of faith; he struggled with his faith earlier in life, according to his book. Lance did catch my attention today, however, when he said people who have cancer are blessed. His explanation on Meet the Press is beautiful. Clearly, God is working through Lance Armstrong right now.


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