Why I chose the Association for International Cancer Research for my charity.

Thought I’d devote an entry on my choice of charity for this year’s Blogathon. Death from cancer is a common occurrence in my family having claimed my father, grand father, some uncles, an aunt and so on. The death that affected me the most, as you’ve probably guessed already, was my father’s.

I was only five years old at the time he died of cancer. At that age your parents are like Gods and can do no wrong in your eyes. I wasn’t old enough to know the sort of person my father really was and he wasn’t the world’s greatest father from what I’ve been told. My mother has said on more than one occasion that the only reason she didn’t leave him was because he developed cancer. It’s arguable that he probably brought it on himself. My father was a hillbilly from North Carolina who had come to Detroit to work for Chrysler and he brought his love of whiskey and moonshine along with him. His bottle came before everything else, even his family, and he wasn’t overly fond of doctors. By the time he was diagnosed it was too far along to do much about it. He was 55 years old when he died from colon cancer. I realize this doesn’t paint a very good picture of my father so I should probably point out that he wasn’t a bad man per se, he just wasn’t a good man to any great degree either. Regardless, I was too young at the time to comprehend all of what I realize now about my father. All I knew was that I loved him and he died and I couldn’t do anything to save him. It hit me hard. Even now at an age when I understand the sort of person he was and that a lot of the blame for what happened rests squarely on his shoulders there’s still that little boy part of me that feels just the way he did all those years ago.

My grandfather on my mother’s side of the family was another loss I felt deeply when he passed away from cancer. There is no doubt in my mind that my grandfather was a good man and if I end up being half the man he was it would be a major accomplishment in my eyes. He was in his 70’s when he died and I was a young adult by that point in time so I was better equipped to handle the loss. My grandfather had been feeling poorly for awhile, but the tests the doctors put him through kept coming up negative. They finally did exploratory surgery and found that cancer had riddled his entire body by that point and there wasn’t much they could do. My grandfather put up a fight till the bitter end, though. He refused to die until one afternoon when he had sat up in bed and in his delirium had started swinging at phantoms only he could see when my grandmother came into the room and said to him, “Clem. It’s OK, you can go. I’ll be alright.” At which point he ceased his fight, laid back down on his bed, and died.

Cancer is common in my family and the sting of it’s touch has been felt more often than I care to think about. I know too many friends who have felt the sting as well. Anything I could do to help in the research for a cure, or at the very least better treatments, is worth doing as a result. So that’s why I picked the charity that I have for this year’s Blogathon. Just in case you were curious…

4 thoughts on “Why I chose the Association for International Cancer Research for my charity.

  1. Being two months old when our father died I have no knowledge of him at all.  I never even asked my mom for a picture of him until my mid-twenties.  But Grandpa’s death hit me hard too.  I still smell a pipe and smile.

  2. Grandpa’s pipe convinced me that the only form of smoking I would ever take up would be pipe smoking. Bad for you it may have been, but damn if that wasn’t a wonderful smell. I loved it whenever he lit up his pipe.

  3. Hi Les,

    I just wanted to thank you and your sponsors for the fantastic effort in this year’s Blogathon. From reading the above I can see how much this disease has touched your life and I understand the feelings having lost my mother to cancer.

    The money you have raised will play its part in carrying out research in an effort to find a cure.

    Well done and many thanks!

    Jack Cumming
    Association for International Cancer Research

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