Kicking Cancer to the Curb: What We Can Do

So a little late, but this is my latest post from TNGG, originally published here.

Son, daughter, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, friend, or neighbor, we all know someone (or many someones) who has been diagnosed with cancer.

A cure to cancer will come one day because society as a whole wants it and supports it — and young people have taken action and will continue to do so. We are going out and trying to kick cancer’s butt. Millennials all over the world are going out running marathons, walking miles, writing letters on end and raising money for all forms of cancer.

Emily Jasper, a blogger, wants to “make a meaningful difference in the fight against cancer” and she’s not the only one putting up a fight and trying to help fund finding a cure.

Relay for Life is a team event that raises money for the American Cancer Society (ACS) and involves at least one member of a team walking the entire night, or longer, as some relays may be. These events are held all over America and beyond (even in Australia). Lately, due to the amount of interest, they are popping up at college campuses everywhere thanks to grassroots organizations like Colleges Against Cancer.

Another way Millennials are supporting ACS is through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. In Boston, the MSABC walk is full of young participants and volunteers. Co-eds of both genders, though mostly females, wake up early in masses to participate in this event every fall. Last fall, Katelyn D’Eramo, 25, was just one of the many participants, walking for her Nana Barbara. According to D’Eramo, “the best part of doing the Making Stride for Breast Cancer this year was this feeling that all 40,000 walkers, all walking 5.7 miles, wearing pink, smiling, were working together for a cure.”

Perhaps part of the reason so many are supporting a cure for breast cancer specifically is because every three minutes, one more woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer. It was this statistic that caused me to walk 39.3 miles in two days for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer a year and a half ago. I agreed to raise $1,800, which I thought would be hard in a tough economy, but it wasn’t. Support poured out from around the world, mostly from my friends, all Millennials.

Carrie Bishop, 25, has walked the Boston AWBC multiple times for her aunt, a two time breast cancer survivor. She says she is “lucky to be able to participate and help those who are less fortunate and raise money to find a cure.” She “was raised with the value of giving back, and will always keep that and pass along to [her] children” — this value, and Carrie’s personal reason for doing it, is one that is all too familiar to many.

We’re not only out there searching for a cure through purely physical means. Those who can still be found on a college campus generally like to stay up late. Though Up ‘til Dawn, you stay up all night writing letters to friends and family to support the patients at St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

College students sacrifice sleep for many things, but even those who need a solid 8-hours a night are willing to give up one night a year to help support this great event that so many campuses host. It’s easy — all you need to do is the addresses of all your extended family and you’re sure to have enough addresses for the bigletter writing party.

Whether our feet or hands are doing the walking, we’re all heading in the right direction. Cancer has already significantly affected our generation. We’re so determined to prove to the world that we can be better than they expect and that we have a social conscious, it’s only a matter of time before one of our own is the one to fine the cure.

Walking miles on end or writing letters all night not your calling? How do you help support the cause?

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