Lordy Lordy, my friends!
If you’d told me 4 years ago I’d be starting my 52nd cycle of chemotherapy this week, I’d say that’s just not possible and you’re out of your mind.
But that’s where we are and it’s a friggin’ miracle. I know without question it’s been made possible by 3 key things I’ve been incredibly lucky to have on this tough path:
- The worldwide support and love from everybody on Team Crafty.
- My incredible crew of healthcare heroes at UCSF Cancer Center in San Francisco and the Eubanks Center here in Petaluma.
- The financial ballast of my excellent healthcare coverage and benefits provided by my employer, Salesforce.
All these things combined make me a very, very unique and fortunate individual. I’m grateful every day for every single advantage that I’ve been given. I know millions out there don’t have a fraction of what I have in these incredible resources and supportive tools. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned during my time on cancer mountain. The delta between the advantaged and disadvantaged is just staggering:
- 90% of cancer patients in low and middle-income countries around the world lack access to radiation therapy. Seriously, that’s true. We’re talking access to one of the foundational cancer-fighting tools many of us take for granted here in the U.S. – radiation machines and the people who know how to prescribe and run them. (Worldcancerday.org, ‘Where You Live Shouldn’t Determine If You Live‘ Fact Sheet 2021.)
- Here in the U.S., there’s also a great disparity in the cancer care resources offered by top cancer centers versus local hospitals across the country. Just getting to a top-rated cancer center in the U.S. is an economic or logistical challenge for most. (U.S. News & World Report, 2021-2022 Best Hospitals Rankings, Cancer) And, this was true even before the system stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Good health insurance is absolutely essential for anyone taking on cancer and needing an extensive rebuild and treatment like mine. Years ago, TV’s fictional character “the bionic man” was considered an extreme financial investment at $6 million dollars. That’s actually a bargain in today’s cancer world. One can easily blow past that number with the current exorbitant costs associated with multiple years of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. The numbers get very big very fast! Consider also that few Americans have any substantial savings for financial emergencies and you get my point. Cancer causes bankruptcies and good health insurance can provide some protection against this. (For you kids out there, here’s the intro to the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man, a true classic!)
It’s taken me some time to figure out the best ways I can help the cancer community. But, I think I now have a good plan. As we start Year 5 on the nasty hill, I have these simple goals:
- Share our story through this journal to show what’s possible and spread some hope.
- Keep others off cancer mountain by encouraging regular screenings.
- Help fellow cancer fighters get the same kind of care and treatment I’ve had.
I will be drum-beating the first two items through regular updates here. And, for the third, Team Crafty will be helping Conquer Cancer Foundation and UCSF Helen Diller Cancer Center with fundraising efforts.
I’m most excited about the new fundraiser already underway with Conquer Cancer >> See this link.
We are launching a new annual Merit award that will help advance treatment breakthroughs and help thousands of cancer patients for many years into the future. Three of my doctors at UCSF are prior winners of Conquer Merit Awards. Today, each of them is recognized worldwide as an expert in their respective field. When I shared news about our new effort with Conquer, one of them said: “This is so great! The Merit Award is really meaningful and it really gets things going around your research work.” Conquer has permitted us to help name the award and to provide some recipient criteria. So our Trailblazer Merit Award candidates and recipients will be focused on our patch of cancer mountain. Specifically, that’s the same general focus area as my recent UCSF clinical trial – solid tumor treatment. Also, when possible, winners will be from low to middle-income countries. Finally, since this award is endowed, it will be given out every year at the ASCO Meeting starting in 2022 along with the rest of their annual Merit Awards.
This all means Team Crafty will have a lasting impact in helping others fight cancer for many years into the future. I invite you to have a look, join us, and please donate today … Let’s spread the ORANGE POWER together!
For many years, I would give Natalie and Mady, a comically hard time about playing holiday tunes in the car anytime before Thanksgiving. But, now, with what we’ve experienced in the past few years, I’ve changed my mind. In fact, if you want to play Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” starting on June 1st, I will help you turn the volume knob to 10. I say bring it, anytime and all the time! Cancer Mountain is a dreary damn place and if you/we can bring some laughter, hope, happiness, and togetherness to the hill, I say go for it. That’s why you’ll find Team Crafty celebrating the holiday season as soon as November 1st … which also happens to be my ‘cancer survivor new year’s day ‘.
Thanks for all your support from near and far.
We welcome you to share our story with anyone whom you think it may help.
Happy Holidays and Keep Rollin’!!
Here are 3 easy things you can do to help fight cancer right now … today … PRONTO!
- Call your doctor for that screening you’ve been pushing off. Pick-up …the … phone!
- Support a great cancer-fighting initiative like our Trailblazers Merit Award or a cancer organization that’s close to you. There are millions of ’em!!
- Reach out to a friend fighting cancer, tell them you are thinking about them and that you are standing by them. It’ll mean more than you’ll ever know.