The Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research
When we hear someone’s been diagnosed with cancer, our first reaction is sympathy.
Oh, that poor woman. I cannot even imagine.
Then the sympathy momentarily shifts to fear.
What if this happens to me or someone I love?
But, the fear is usually fleeting and we carry on our way, right back to bitching about teething babies and uncommunicative husbands.
We spot donation links in our Facebook streams, or in the mail.
We fancy ourselves as generous, but, nine times out of ten, throw that mail in the trash, or scroll down further…furiously searching for something that doesn’t make us feel, and remind us of the could-happens.
It’s not that we don’t care about cancer, starving kids, or the aftermath of natural disasters.
Because we do.
But, unless it hits home, unless we have a personal connection, it simply doesn’t feel real.
Or, we wonder if our meager donation will go to the right place, and be used as it’s intended. And, even if it does and it is, we question if something so small can make a dent in something so big.
We’re desensitized, and jaded, to those issues that don’t affect us.
Until they do affect us.
Almost two years ago, some friends of mine that I adore, got that news. The news no one wants to hear, or thinks they ever will.
James was diagnosed with a Stage Four Glioblastoma.
A brain tumor.
And just like that this beautiful family, with three young sons, had their lives turned upside.
When I first heard the news, my heart broke. I went through the why-thems over and over and over again.
But, funny thing, they didn’t go through them. Instead of being scared and shutting down? James began living.
And not just for himself, but for others.
Basically, James was like, “Meh, I’m bored. So, today, I’m gonna kick cancer’s ass and raise a bajillion dollars for research on the side. Oh, and I’ll throw some tennis tournaments and travel in there so I don’t get bored AND OH LOOK LET ME SAVE THAT CAT STUCK UP IN THE TREE.”
(I added the cat part, but it’s probably true. Maybe.)
In the middle of the brain surgery-chemo-radiation-filled uncertainty, he and beautiful his wife, Jamie, began The Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research.
To help others.
Now, if it were me, if I had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, I fear I’d just stop living; that the fear alone would break me.
And thinking outside myself during a time like this?
Normally, allergies are enough to shut me down, forcing me to cancel all my plans, and draw the curtains (or close the shutters, in my case. whatever).
But, not James and Jamie.
The grace, courage, humor, faith, and generosity they’ve shown?
Has blown me away.
Saying these two have inspired me is a such an incredible understatement. Such a cliche, it isn’t adequate.
They have changed the way I feel about life, about how I want to live it, and how I want to love.
The outcome, thus far, as been amazing.
Last night was their Inaugural Gala.
And, **spoiler alert** I went!
Shocking, because if you know me, you’re aware of just how much it takes to make this happen…
I mean, I put a bra on and took elastic “athletic” pants off for these guys.
Last night, before things kicked off, they’d already raised $750,000 to help fund Brain Cancer research.
The donations could not be more needed.
Because, Brain Cancer, for as many people as it affects, it’s incredibly underfunded when it comes to the research into finding a cure.
Such a shame, because the doctors here at MD Anderson are on the forefront of some amazing breakthroughs.
You can read about it here.
The night was nothing like I thought it would be. I’d anticipated heavy hearts and lots of tears.
There was none of that.
Instead, Jamie said from the get-go that the night was to be about laughter.
And James opened with a joke.
A doctor tells his patient he has bad news, and really bad news. The patient asks, “What’s the bad news?” The doctor says, “You have 24 hours to live.” “What’s the really bad news?” asks the patient.
“I was supposed to tell you yesterday.”
(Of course, I’m paraphrasing.)
(Sorry if I butchered it, James.)
Lee Majors was there to introduce his friend Kevin Nealon, who wrapped up the night with pure hilarity.
My cheeks still hurt from laughing so hard.
Oh! And, I was right about one thing.
There wasn’t one dry eye in the house.
But, from laughter, not from tears.
I could go on and on about how amazing this family is, but I’ll step aside and let you see for yourself.
James goes in for another brain surgery on the 17th. The world renowned Dr. Lang will insert a catheter into his brain and inject the delta-24 virus via the catheter. The catheter will remain in his head for two weeks. On the 31st, Dr. Lang will perform another awake craniotomy where he’ll remove the catheter and resect the brain tissue immediately surrounding it.
What are YOU doing in the next two weeks? Slackers.
So, I ask you: for prayers, meditation, good thoughts, positive vibes, or however it is you do it, my friends…for my friends.
Also, I encourage you to think twice before you scroll passed things most of us would rather avoid, remembering that you truly can make an impact…even if it’s just a couple of bucks, or a few hours of your time.
Because, imagine how wonderful it would be if we all rooted for and supported one another, personal connection or not?
I mean, why the hell else are we here?