Pancreatic tumors may become more treatable thanks to a new study, published in the journal Nature, which showed that an important gene was being switched “off” in cancerous cells. Researchers note that they are now working to test and implement a new class of drugs that focuses on turning the gene back “on” to stop the spread of the cancer. Pancreatic cancer is notoriously aggressive, and according to BBC news, less than 1 in 5 people are still alive a year after being diagnosed. Obviously, this research is great news in the fight against pancreatic cancer. Fingers crossed we find better treatment options—and a cure—soon!
Sarah Hughen founded A Wave a Day, a year-long, daily surfing initiative that raises breast cancer awareness. Sarah remarks that her 365 day project “has brought me happiness on so many different levels. I would meet people out in the water, like someone who was just diagnosed with breast cancer or they had been a cancer survivor. It made me feel I was doing the right thing at the right time… (and) it made me realize that I wasn’t doing this just for myself…” These are words that ring true to me in so many ways, and makes me thankful that I’m able to be (pro)active in the fight against cancer like Sarah.
Neil Pasricha’s 1000 Awesome Things celebrates the seemingly mundane minutiae of life and turns it into something awesome. Examples include: #109 Lying in a beam of sunlight coming through the window; #219 When little kids give you their artwork; #371 Seeing old people holding hands; #409 Kids who dress themselves; #758 Celebrating your pet’s birthday even though they have no idea what’s going on; #814 Cheesy theme songs from 80′s sitcoms; or #840 Popping bubble wrap. Check out his blog in the link above. After almost 4 years, he’s finally counted all the way down to number one, but I bet there are more little things that make life good, as well as big things, too—like climbing Kilimanjaro for a really good cause.
The Patient Empowerment Initiative was launched by LIVESTRONG and the American Cancer Society in 2009. LIVESTRONG has worked with various international NGOs to implement the Patient Empowerment Initiative and support a comprehensive, survivor-informed call to action on cancer. The link above is more proof that LIVESTRONG does great work for millions of people around the world.
The American Cancer Society now says there is plenty of evidence that shows that diet and exercise can help cancer survivors beat recurrences of their disease. The basic tips include getting regular exercise; eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and maintaining a healthy weight. Read NPR’s report above for more information.
Another poignant article from New York Times blogger Suleika Jaouad, who has just received a bone marrow transplant from her brother: “I am waiting for my brother Adam’s healthy stem cells to engraft in my bone marrow. He is finishing his last few weeks of college and should be focusing on finals and parties and graduation. But, like my parents and everyone who enters this sterile room, he is worried about me. I can see it behind the masks and gloves and protective clothing that everyone has to wear to enter. When the doctors arrive they encircle my bed in a protective ring of yellow medical gowns. Above their caring, observant eyes, a ceiling vent emits the hiss of whirring air, my constant audio track. The doctors warned me that the month following my transplant would be the most physically grueling part of the process. They were right.” Sending good thoughts Suleika’s way.
I climb for Blake Buffa, an amazing girl who was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer, on On March 11, 2010. Blake underwent her treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. While in treatment, Blake designed a series of awesome t shirts with the slogan “B Positive,” which is also her blood type. A few weeks ago, I got two t shirts in the mail from the Buffa and Stefanacci families, and they were so cool. As someone who has taught art and worked with kids, I always love to see creativity. I was also lucky enough to get a photo of and an update on Blake—who is doing great! She’s celebrating one year cancer free. I’m happy to hear that Blake is able to get back to doing the things she loves (like soccer), and I can’t wait to climb for her all the way to the top of Africa.
LIVESTRONG is more than yellow wristbands. Barb Simmons writes in today’s LIVESTRONG blog about Camp Kesem, a summer camp program for kids from families who know all too well the fight against cancer.
“LIVESTRONG is best known for providing support for those battling cancer and survivors. Most assume survivors are those that survived cancer, but there is a large group of survivors out there that never had cancer but provided support and love for those that fought gallantly—both successfully and unsuccessfully. Among those are thousands of children being raised in a single parent household due to cancer stealing one of their parents, or those living with the daily struggles of watching a parent suffer with cancer.”
Do you know a great kid facing a family member’s struggle against cancer, and could use some extra love and support this summer? Or, are you a college student who is interested in being a summer camp counselor for this worthwhile program? Click the link above to learn more about Camp Kesem and see if it’s in your area.
World Malaria Day is today, April 25. I’m feeling pretty lucky that I have access to anti-malarial medication that will significantly decrease my chances of getting this disease, because I’ll need to be at my best to climb Kilimanjaro to raise cancer awareness.
The deaths from all cancers combined nationally declined from 2004-2008, but a major government report highlights a troubling rise in cases linked to obesity and inactivity. So, get out there and move. Walk after dinner, go for a mile run, play frisbee, go slacklining, ride your bike, walk your dog, etc. Whatever you do, just move!
Check out Suleika Jaouad’s blog, Secrets of Cancerhood, and read her series Life, Interrupted in the New York Times. I don’t know how she writes with such clarity, purpose, and honesty about her journey fighting cancer. This woman’s strength inspires me to climb.
NPR reports on a new study and notes that, “smoking is bad. Quitting smoking is hard. But exercising can make quitting easier, and make sliding back into smoking less likely.” Walking as little as 15 minutes a day, six days a week is enough to improve health among smokers. Read more in the link above to find out about the benefits to exercise in smokers. If you currently smoke and want to quit, remember that there are a lot of resources and support available out there!
Click the link above to learn about one of LIVESTRONG’s most valuable initiatives, Fertile Hope, which is dedicated to providing reproductive information, support, and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility. Your donation to my climb up Kilimanjaro helps support this awesome cause.
I helped out at one of the rest stops today for Texas 4000’s century ride. They killed all 100 miles from Austin to Johnson City and back. Supporting the team today brought back so many memories from when I did the ride in 2009. This year’s group is finishing up the last of their training and fundraising, and they are ready to make the trip from Texas to Alaska in just a few weeks! Click the link above to see LIVESTRONG’s support of this amazing non-profit.
So excited to cross #17 off my list! “There’s an urgency to climbing Kilimanjaro,” Outside notes. “The famous ‘tropical ice’ that covers the 19,341-foot Tanzanian peak has melted to 15% of its 1912 size, diminishing your chances to chip glacial ice for your sundowner gin and tonic after the summit push. Cheekiness aside, Africa is a place of great flux, with precious animal populations shrinking faster than high altitude glaciers. Make sure to see them both by combining a summit bid on Tanzania with a safari to see the continent’s Big Five—lions, elephants, cape buffalo, rhino, and leopard.”
If at least 5,000 people sign this letter, LIVESTRONG will ask lawmakers to make Texas a leader in the fight against cancer by: passing a statewide indoor smoke-free workplace law; and renewing funding for Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). So sign the letter and make your voice heard! It takes less than a minute and there’s no spam—just good karma.
After being diagnosed with AML, Suleika Jaoaud wanted to know how she might be able to preserve her fertility and live out her dreams of becoming a mother later on in life. “Fertility treatment can cost $25,000, and is rarely covered by insurance,” she writes. “In my case, I was lucky to get a scholarship from Fertile Hope, a program from the Livestrong Foundation that provides support and information on fertility options to cancer patients and survivors.” I’m so honored to climb Kilimanjaro with Survivor Summit to raise money for LIVESTRONG, which helps women—like Suleika—make personal choices about treatment, recovery, and survivorship when fighting cancer.
“Cocoa, which is the raw material in chocolate, can help to prevent intestinal difficulties including colon carcinogenesis (the process of cancer development) caused by chemical substances, according to a new study. A new study from the Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN) found that cocoa protects the intestines against the onslaught of dietary toxins.” So, the good news is that chocolate is good for you, but here’s the important part: only in moderation!
A 6-year-old boy from Texas wanted to help his father lessen the burden of expensive cancer treatments. So, he set up a lemonade stand and what happened next was pretty awesome: Drew Cox’s lemonade stand raised over $10,000 in a single day. See the article above to learn more about this really cool kid and his equally amazing dad.
There’s many good reasons to eat your vegetables, one of which is that scientists are getting to know more about why broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables block cancer. All from studying a compound called suforaphane. Read more in the link above.
My flight is booked and I can’t wait to meet my teammates, like Danny Shoemaker (@dannyshoemaker) and Amy Bartlett (@amyebartlett), in Tanzania! AUS to ATL to AMS to JRO; and JRO to DAR to AMS to ATL to AUS. Whew. Seriously, that makes me tired just thinking about it. Safe travels to all of my teammates! Any suggestions for the 30130544 hour plane ride?
Get on those bikes. LIVESTRONG invites all cycling folks out to a special training ride and open house at their headquarters in east Austin on Saturday, April 21. This free event is open to the public. President and CEO, Doug Ulman, will make a special announcement at 8:00 a.m. and training rides will leave the front lot at 8:15 a.m. sharp. There will be a 25-mile option, as well as a 40-mile route lead by local cycling groups Austin Flyers and Cycle Camp USA. Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop will be on hand for any bikes that need to be fixed, too. There will also be public tours of the offices and the LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Center starting at 8:30 a.m. Sounds like a fun day for a ride!
I climb for my brother, Dave, who received exciting news today that he is a confirmed match for a bone marrow donation for a 40 year old woman who is fighting leukemia. It’s been five long years since he registered and now, he’s finally getting the chance to give back.
Dave will be undergoing the procedure to help save this woman’s life by mid May. His bravery, compassion, and willingness to aid someone far away (and humility, too! He really doesn’t think anything of undergoing such a big procedure for a stranger. He just wants to help because it’s the right thing to do) inspires me, and I can’t help sending good vibes out to the recipient, too; I wish her the best in her cancer fight. I’ll be thinking of both of them when I take off for Kilimanjaro in almost two months.
Did you know you can register as a possible bone marrow donor with one simple swab of your mouth? Find out more at the National Marrow Donor Program's web site.
The 2012 Texas 4000 for Cancer team made friends with a business that connects people living with cancer to an oncologist in their area. 1-800-Oncologist will donate .50 cents for every like/post mentioning Texas 4000 on their Facebook page. In case fighting cancer was on your to do list today, you can cross it off now. If it wasn’t on your to do list, what are you waiting for? You’re one click away from having someone donate to a good cause for you.
“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough - to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”—Anthony Bourdain
Just a little over than 2 months until our adventure up Kilimanjaro begins. The entire team has been preparing for the long climb (some 38 miles all told) by running, hiking, stair-climbing, cycling, and getting mentally ready, too. Additionally, our team has currently raised over $100,000 for LIVESTRONG, funds that will help LIVESTRONG to reach cancer survivors and provide service to those that need their help. A few of team members, myself included, are posting on blogs or have appeared in newspaper articles, and Survivor Summit wanted share them on their site. Visit the link above to see us getting the word out about our cause.
The Survivor Summit team and I are so close to reaching an amazing milestone: $100,000 for cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG! Want to get started on your 2012 tax deductions early? Make a small donation to a good cause!
"When I was diagnosed with CML in January of 2006," writes Justin Ozuna, "I made a conscious decision to move forward with my life. I wanted to do what I had to do to overcome cancer and get back to my prior reality…I never intended for this to be a cancer blog, I just wanted to share my personal experiences. Now, my vision is to make it a blog of hope, humor, and inspiration."
Good stuff coming out of my alma mater: “Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have identified a compound in fish oil that appears to target leukemia stem cells and could lead to a cure for the disease. Called delta-12prostaglandin J3 or D12-PGJ3, the compound targeted and destroyed leukemia stem cells in mice. Head researcher, Sandeep Prabhu, Associate Professor of Immunology and Molecular Toxicology at the university, indicates that the compound is derived from eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), an Omega 3 fatty acid found in fish and fish oil.”
"Take the time to enjoy something that you normally rush through. You may truly enjoy this thing. It may be a song, a food, a movie, your daily walk/run a book…whatever it is, absorb yourself in it completely. Stop going through the motions blindly and actually notice what you’re doing and how."
Wonder what a donation to my Kilimanjaro climb supports? It’s not paying for my flight to Tanzania, that’s for sure! Instead, your tax-deductible donation supports LIVESTRONG’s cancer programs and services—like their Navigation Services, which in the past year alone has served nearly 15,000 people nationally through free, confidential, one-on-one support services offered online, by phone, and in-person in English and Spanish. In the past year, LIVESTRONG has also saved clients an estimated $3.3 million in medical expenses.
The LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Center in east Austin, which represents an underserved part of the city, is a tangible reminder of the impact LIVESTRONG can have on a community. This center was created to help survivors from Central Texas, as well as their friends, family, health care professionals, and caregivers, overcome the tough challenges that arise after a diagnosis—including insurance problems, treatment concerns, and dealing with the emotional impact of the disease. Your donation supports people who need help when dealing with a cancer diagnosis, so click “donate” on the left side of my blog’s main page and help out this good cause.
I had the good fortune to run into one of my teammates at REI today while I was spending my member dividend! She recognized me by the Survivor Summit t shirt I was wearing. After today’s chance run-in, I’m really excited to meet everyone and climb Kili to fight cancer. But first, I need to get to the $10,000 minimum fundraising requirement (less than $1,700 to go!) and buy my plane tickets…