Today, Friday the 4th is World Cancer Day. This day is an international day meant to raise awareness for cancer and to help promote its prevention, detection, and treatment. In total, in the Netherlands, more than 118,000 people get diagnosed with cancer each year, 13 per hour. Sadly, many people have a loved one who has fought cancer or is still fighting it. Some of us may have even lost someone to the disease.

World Cancer Day is very close to my heart. My life changed last year when I lost my mother to cancer. She already had a history of the disease but had always won the battle. Then my mother got diagnosed with a brain tumor caused by a melanoma in 2018. A melanoma is a form of skin cancer and can cause metastases, which initially appeared to be a normal mole in my mother's case. Brains are a tricky place, and there is still a lack of research into treatments for cancer caused by melanomas. Therefore, there was only one treatment that could cure my mother. She had to stop when she suffered severe side effects from her treatment, and we knew she wouldn't get better. All that could be done for her was to give her medicine that delayed the inevitable. She passed away last year after receiving a short two-year extension due to the medication. The woman who had always conquered the disease was defeated, something that could always have happened but was still unlikely to me, because in my eyes, she was the epitome of strength. But that is what the disease does when there isn't enough knowledge about treatments, no matter how strong you are.

Fight Cancer

In 2019, I went to Swim to Fight Cancer in Breda with my mother. This is a fundraiser organized by the organization Fight Cancer. Fight Cancer tries to inspire people under the motto 'Love life. Fight cancer.' to take action to raise money for research and prevention. They encourage people to start their campaign, participate in one of their events, donate money, or become volunteers. During Swim to Fight Cancer, we encouraged the volunteers who swam for cash, and after that day, I became a donor. One of the most frustrating things about the disease is that you can't do much about it yourself. It takes a lot of patience and faith. Being a donor is the only thing that makes me feel that I do have my part to play, no matter how small.

LoveLife Dinner

Some weeks ago, I received a message from the charity about World Cancer Day this year. In the mail, they requested to host a dinner called the LoveLife Dinner. This dinner is meant to raise money by hosting a dinner and inviting your loved ones, the ones who have supported you in difficult times and asking them to donate to the charity instead of bringing something like wine to the dinner. When I read the message, I got excited right away. It has now almost been a year since my mother passed away, and fortunately, I had many people supporting me, especially this past year. But sometimes, there is so much happening that I don't have time to pause and reflect on all that has happened. It is nice to have a moment where I can stand still and think of all that has happened, remember my mother with the people I care about and the people who cared about her and collect money for research.

Even though today is already the 4th of February, it is not too late to prepare your dinner. In the end, it doesn't matter on which day you decide to stand still and think about the people you have lost due to the disease.

You can make an account on the Fight Cancer site and join the LoveLife Dinner. As a result, your action page is created. You can also donate to somebody else or look into the other existing campaigns. Of course, you can also create your own campaign.

Click here to go to the Fight Cancer site.

Love Life!