Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Teary "i"

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sadly, breast cancer's relentlessness does not respect the jurisdictional limits of October. Why should it I suppose. It pays no attention to any other boundaries. Why should a calendar page serve as a barrier to its mayhem.

Last week, after battling hard against breast cancer for approximately one dozen years, forty-two year-old Stefanie Spielman died. Stefanie Spielman was the mother of four. Once upon a time she was likely best known for who she married. She was the wife of Ohio State Buckeye football legend Chris Spielman, an Ohio boy who grew up to become a force of nature at the linebacker position for The Ohio State University in the late '80's.

At age 30 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. From the time she was initially diagnosed, she lived the most extraordinary life. And she did not do it alone. She did it in lockstep with her husband. The Spielmans became advocates for breast-cancer detection and research, winning several awards for their dedication to the cause. They raised more than $6 million for breast cancer research at Ohio State, where she also had attended school, through the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. Additionally, she helped form a support group for young women with breast cancer, hosted an annual event that honored cancer survivors and created a fund to help breast cancer patients and their families who struggled financially.

If the world we actually live in was as close to ideal as we all wish it were then 30 year-old wives and mothers would not be given death sentences. And if this world was closer to being fair than it actually is, four children would not gather today to bury their 42 year-old mother. A father of four - himself only in his early 40's - would not be transitioned from husband to widower. Not during Thanksgiving week. Not only forty-eight hours removed from the day marked on the calendar as the one where families gather to give thanks.


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