On Thursday, October 19, 2017, I walked with friends and family in Toronto for Light the Night, which raises money to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. We walked in support of my mom, Marlene Kadar, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma four years ago.
Marlene has received chemotherapy for most of the last four years, but sadly her cancer recently relapsed. The last treatment available to Marlene is a stem cell transplant, which is a brutal course of treatment that works about 25% of the time. However, we are still hopeful that our mom is strong enough to receive this treatment and that it will work beautifully <3
Cancer is a mysterious and dreadful thing. You can't see it, and yet you always know it is there, a new and unwanted family member that you just can't seem to shake. The medical system certainly tries to help rid you of this uninvited guest, but after all these years of watching my mom get poked, prodded, and infused with killer drugs, I have learned that the system in place for treating cancer can be as difficult as the disease itself. And my mom, Marlene, has handled it all with poise and strength. I am so proud of her.
Marlene is being treated at Princess Margaret in Toronto, a renowned cancer hospital. We are very lucky to have access to such an incredible team of doctors, nurses, and treatments. That said, I've realized how powerless cancer patients must feel during the course of their diagnosis and treatment. Treatment is highly regulated, based on studies and case evidence, and often there are no options - there are statistics. The patient seems to lose their individuality and becomes another number in the giant machinery of cancer treatment.
Light the Night gave our family, friends, and community, an opportunity to take back the power, to DO something instead of just sitting back and waiting for a doctor to regulate our next move. Our family was blown away by our community's generosity. We raised $11,425, making us a VIP fundraising team. Overall, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada raised $1,700,000 for research, treatment, patient programs and advocacy.
We are so grateful to everyone who contributed, and to our fabulous friends and colleagues who joined us on our walk this past Thursday evening. We felt your love and support so profoundly that some of the shadows of illness have been lifted. Thank you all.
We hope that new treatments will become available soon, not just for Marlene, but for the millions of people (many of them children!), who are suffering from blood cancers. We will wait, but in the meantime, we will revel in the feeling of walking together and remembering that we are not alone.