Monday, July 16, 2007

The Real War on Terror...The War on Cancer

After the recent loss of my mother-in-law, who was only 66 years old, to uterine cancer, I have been watching the talking heads on television with the whole periphery of men and women who want to become our President and the leader of the free world, yet, no one is talking about the real war on terror, which is cancer.

Not only does cancer, in many instances, prematurely take your life, but it almost seems as if it has to humiliate you while it is doing so. I think that most people, either themselves or someone in their family, circle of friends, neighborhood, church, synagogue or mosque, knows of someone dealing with the pain of cancer. I am sure that most people believe or want to believe, as American citizens living in the greatest country on earth, that everything that could possibly be done to help prevent and find a cure for cancer is being done. I am sorry to say that if one looks at our “war on cancer” they would agree that it makes the war in Iraq look good. The war on cancer is the most dysfunctional war this country has ever been involved with.

Stop and think about our enemy, cancer. If you are 85 years old or younger in this country today, it is more likely you will die from cancer than any other cause. For those 30-55 years old, more will die from cancer than the next three causes combined. One out of every two men and one out of every three women will deal with cancer at some point in their lifetime. Childhood cancer remains one of the leading causes of death for children in our country. Over the next 14 months, more people in America will die from cancer than lost their lives in every military conflict of the 20th century. Cancer is as if one of the Twin Towers is collapsing every single day, 365 days a year.

What are we doing about it?

For the first time in many years, with factoring in for inflation, the National Institute of Health is receiving less funding for cancer research. The number of post-doctoral professionals working on this research has decreased this year, from 11,700 to 10,000. Funding for clinical trials, where most of the progress results from is being cut of 5-8%.

This seems to be the answer to what we are doing about the war on cancer. None of the talking heads are putting this war on the forefront and asking the candidates what their commitment to the war on cancer is going to be, as it will kill some 560,000 Americans this year. And those who lose their battle do not live in a vacuum, they are somebody’s mom, dad, brother, sister, husband, wife and unfortunately, somebody’s child.

The money that the government doles out every year for everything imaginable under the stars, is not their money! IT IS OUR MONEY, EVERY AMERICAN’S MONEY!

We need to say, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and that we want more of our money spent to find some of these answers. The only way that can happen is to have a Chief Executive call to order a major conference like we did with the Manhattan Project, which created the Atomic Bomb. We need to have our best resources come together and give them a blank check once and for all to find the answers.

If we are in that age bracket of 35-60, and we find a lump that needs to be biopsied or the doctor recommends additional testing, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we are more afraid of being told that we have cancer than we are of being the victim of a terrorist attack.

We need to start putting our priorities in the order they belong – making our people and our loved ones the top priority so that maybe, at some point in our lifetimes, we will find that elusive cure.

What greater gift could we leave to our children and the people around the world?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Good Guys in Sports

Oftentimes, the professional athletes who are truly positive life models for our youth, are overshadowed by the negative actions and decisions of their colleagues (steroid use; excessive drinking; drug use; etc), however, there have been a number of professional athletes who not only are positive life models, but who over the years, have gone above and beyond to help provide some good days and special times for the children and families served by Camp Good Days and Special Times.

Steve Christie, Scott Norwood, Danny Briere, John Calipari, and Jim Boeheim, just to name a few, are all not only exceptional players or outstanding coaches in their respective sports, but all of them are people whom we at Camp Good Days are proud to call our friends.

Each of those noted above has given not only their financial contributions, which help Camp Good Days to provide all of our programs and services, which are offered free of charge for the participants, but each of them has given of their personal time to be a part of Camp Good Days’ special fundraising events, such as the Tournament of Love Celebrity Golf Scramble; the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, Auction & Dinner; and the Buffalo Creative Black Tie Gala. In addition, some of them have taken the time to visit Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility, spending time with the campers and seeing firsthand what they have helped to make possible. They have also contributed their services and expertise with game tickets; artwork; and special activities for our campers.

Steve Christie, Scott Norwood, Danny Briere, John Calipari, Jim Boeheim, and others who have given of their time and love to the children of Camp Good Days are some of the few professional athletes who understand that many people, especially children, are watching their every move and they take that very seriously. They are professionals, making the right choices, doing the right thing, and providing a positive role model for our youth.