Last year was a tough one for many people in Cornelius whose lives were touched by some form of cancer.
Just on the street where I live, at least two families lost a loved one to cancer.
In December, Cornelius lost 37-year-old Bo Johnson. I met Bo through e-mail when he responded to one of my columns and asked me to write about his charity. Bo was diagnosed with lung cancer, although he had never been a smoker.
Bo and his wife, Kristi, began the charity because lung cancer was underfunded, as many people associate this form of cancer with smoking. The charity was named Addi's Cure, after their daughter.
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Later, friends e-mailed and called me to write about the fundraising event Touch-a-Truck, which allowed kids to get up close to all kinds of vehicles. Friends e-mailed me again to write about Bo's first lung transplant, which didn't succeed and led to another lung transplant a few days later.
All along the way, Kristi wrote about their life and Bo's cancer in her blog. I cried every time I read Kristi's blog, and I cried when I found out Bo was gone. At Addiscure.org you can find out more about the charity and the family.
Back in June, my best friend was diagnosed with cancer, which started as a tumor on the pancreas. Later that month, my hairdresser in Cornelius, Dodie LeFevre, was cutting my hair, and I asked about a pink streak in her hair, an extension put in for breast cancer awareness.
I asked why only breast cancer awareness had special hair extensions. Dodie told me to find out the color of the cancer I wanted to support, and she would give me extensions of that color. In August, Dodie put purple extensions, the color for pancreatic cancer, in my hair.
Dodie put in my extensions in August. In September, she found out her sister, Debra Green, had cancer. Debra wasn't feeling well and went to her doctor who sent her for a mammogram because she hadn't had one in four years, and found out she had Stage 2 breast cancer. Three weeks later, Debra found out she also had Stage 4 liver cancer.
She didn't tell her sister because Dodie was recuperating from a broken back. Dodie found out a month later from their father.
Dodie said she called her sister and, "Yelled at her for not telling me. Just because I was in pain didn't mean I was not capable of having emotions or helping in some way, just being a shoulder to cry on."
Debra now is undergoing chemotherapy, and Dodie leaves next week to care for her sister.
We all support those we love the best way we know how, but it would be amazing if a cure for cancer was found in 2010.