This weekend I am thankful for the freedom we have in this country to raise our individual and collective voices, to respectfully express our opinions and our hopes, even when doing so very loudly.

Many of us cancer survivors  walk, dance, bake, bowl, run, bike, swim and are doing anything and everything thing we can to shout out to the world, “We want a cure for cancer and we want it now.”  We refuse to let our fund raising activities fall on deaf ears.  Here is Maryann Makekau’s take on getting attention for the cause:

Have you ever overheard a nearby child saying, “Mommy?” Moments later you hear her again…then again…and again until finally the child shouts “MOMMY!” Then, as if it’s the first time she’s heard her child, the mother says, “Yes, dear.” Children have a knack of wearing out the word “mommy.”  That’s when selective listening kicks in for the parent and attention-getting tactics kick in for the child—albeit innocently for both. In moments of selective listening, tuning in transforms to tuning out.

Shouting often gets our full attention—there’s no half-listening with noise like that! Through a child’s eyes, shouting might equate to “look and listen—pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top!” It seems to me, that’s the kind of “look and listen up” approach we need to see with cancer. Currently, there are campaigns to raise money and awareness, conferences to educate patients and professionals, and quests of all sorts for the cure. Each one is part of a collective difference to fight the fight.

Yet, cancer is more common than ever, affecting millions and millions of lives. Virtually everyone knows someone who’s battled it. Thanks to expert research and targeted treatments, cancer is slowly being transformed from incurable to treatable, and sometimes chronic.

The speed of transforming the “face” of cancer is alarming to me, though. Too many lives are still impacted by cancer and far too many lives are stolen away by it. The words “chemotherapy” and “radiation” have unfortunately become as everyday vocabulary. Those words should, instead, cause people to shout louder and louder…until there is a cure!

Just as a child shouts on the fourth go-round for attention, adults need to keep shouting. Bringing constant attention to cancer’s impact on people’s lives will keep us focused on the ultimate goal. That goal: ERASE CANCER. That’s a beautiful sight to imagine, isn’t it? Until then, fighting the fight is never done, and that demands our undivided attention. Everyone has the ability to make a difference—collective shouting is the muscle of hope. Hope matters everyday in every life.

Maryann Makekau, Author & Inspirational Speaker

Copyright 2011

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