It seems like yesterday that the US Senate Resolution passed in 2010, officially establishing November as Stomach Cancer Awareness Month. And it seems like yesterday that we came up with the concept of the No Stomach For Cancer Walk…Yet, here we are, starting our fourth Stomach Cancer Awareness Month and our second annual No Stomach For Cancer Walk.
Though we are so proud of the progress we have made, the money we, as a community have raised, we know we have much more to do as far as raising awareness and raising funds goes. We need to make periwinkle as well known as pink. Amazing progress has been made in the fight against breast cancer, and many lives have been saved. We want ~we need~ to do the same for stomach cancer. Enough is enough.
We are tired of hearing the same familiar stories…. The 28 year -old newlywed who was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer who and dies 4 months later, not even seeing her first wedding anniversary… The 43 year old who was diagnosed with stomach cancer the day before he died… The multiple family members who were told by dismissive doctors that there is no form of hereditary stomach cancer, despite the fact that multiple family members from various generations succumbed to the disease.
This Stomach Cancer Awareness Month will be different. It MUST be. We can no longer watch our loved ones suffer a painful death because a doctor was unaware of the hereditary form of stomach cancer. We can no longer watch our family and friends take comfort from doctors who assured them, “You are too young for stomach cancer. That is an old person’s disease.” We need to look at ourselves and, instead of being dismissive of symptoms, attributing them to “stress,” we need to pick up the phone and get in touch with our primary care doctor. We need to know our family’s health history. It’s time to make a change.
So, as we walk together throughout the world on November 2nd ~ and every day, really~ let people know that stomach cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. They will be surprised. Share your stomach cancer story. People will remember your personal story more than they will remember statistics. They will remember that your mom was not feeling good for a year, went to multiple doctors, was told it was nothing, only to find out the cancer had been growing in her for the past year. They will remember when you tell them that having your stomach removed saved your lives, that precancerous cells were already growing within you.
Stomach Cancer Awareness Month and the No Stomach For Cancer Walk are steps in the right direction in helping us reach our vision of “a world without stomach cancer.” However, there is so much more to do. By living out our mission, “to support research and unite the caring power of people affected by stomach cancer,” we WILL continue to make a difference, raise awareness, and save lives. The only way we can do this is by working TOGETHER. Thank you to this incredible community for all that you do to raise awareness and funds. Let’s make this the best Stomach Cancer Awareness Month ever!