Cancer. That awful, dreaded, and hated word: cancer. It’s all around us. It’s everywhere.

It takes me back to childhood games, like Head’s Up Seven Up, where the point of the game was to figure out who the “It” was…who was going to fall prey to them next? Secretly thinking, while covering my eyes, “don’t pick me, don’t pick me, don’t pick me” and then suddenly feeling that light touch on your thumb. “Boys and girls, you may open your eyes and, if you were chosen, please stand up.” I remember slowly coming to a stand while my eyes glanced around the room at all of the other victims and finally settling on the “Its” at the front of the room, wondering who it was that flicked my finger. Sadly, however, cancer is real; it’s not a game at all. It’s a frightening monster that lurks in the shadows and shows it’s nasty self in the most unlikely of people at the most unlikely of times. Who’s going to be next?

Missy, a very dear friend of mine, recently found out her husband has stage 4 colon cancer. After an MRI was performed, they discovered the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes and liver. The chances of him living for more than 5 more years are 8%. Let that sink in for a second…8%!!! This strong, sweet man…this caring, doting father…an 8% chance to see another 5 years of life, to see the next five years of birthday parties for his children, to see the next 5 years of family vacations, first days of school, holidays…8%…

Photo Credit D. Rollo

Let me ask you something: how often, out of the kindness of your heart, for no reason whatsoever, do you make a meal for somebody and drop it off unannounced? How often do you offer your friends free babysitting and actually act on that offer? How often do you do something nice for somebody else for no other reason than “just because?”

I constantly hear myself saying “Call me if you need me!” or responding to FB posts, “If you need help with anything, let me know,” but how often do we truly mean those words? Why does it take something so truly devastating to happen, for us to step up and be kind and charitable to one another? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are plenty of you out there that do spontaneous, nice things all of the time, but for the majority of us? It’s not that we don’t want to, it’s simply because our own lives are so busy and hectic as it is; it’s enough stress, for most of us, to find enough time in the day to clean our own homes or whip up home-made meals for our own families, let alone finding time to do generous things for someone else just because we feel like it.

Photo Credit D. Rollo

To see our community come together for this sweet family, the generosity overflowing, just takes my breath away. But why?? Why does it take something, of this magnitude to happen, to see such acts of kindness? We were out with Missy and her husband recently when my husband reached over, grabbed the bill, and covered the cost of everything. Missy jokingly responded “Wow! Thanks. Everyone is so nice when your husband has cancer.” That comment has remained with me ever since. You see all of these GoFundMe accounts circulating, people asking for assistance after a death or tragedy has occurred and you see the enormous amounts love and money come rushing in, but again I ask, where are all of these caring and giving people before the devastation? Where is this kindness every day of our lives? Don’t wait for the next cancer victim. Don’t wait for the next shocking, unexpected death. Don’t wait for the next sweet, premature baby to be born. Be kind now. We don’t know everybody’s struggle. That one act of kindness may turn one’s day upside down; it could literally change someone’s life, forever, for the better.

I feel that we, as a society, need to do a better job of being good, honorable people for no other reason than just because. There is way too much ugly in this world right now. In the next twenty to thirty years, I don’t want my children to be nice because they feel badly or guilty for someone; I want them to be kind because they choose to be, because that’s who they truly are as people.

“Everyone is so nice when your husband has cancer.”

That heartbreaking statement that holds so much truth, that will haunt me for the rest of my life…

…I refuse to wait for the next victim, the next tragedy…I will start right now…with a smile to a passing stranger, a Pay-It-Forward in the drive-thru at Dunkin’ Donuts, even secretly paying a random stranger’s tab the next time we go out to eat…just because…because there may not be a tomorrow…

“Many will never know how big their small gestures were to us in our time of utter confusion and turmoil, from help with childcare, to the plowing, to the ongoing meal train. It let us focus on trying to get our feet underneath us and navigate without worrying about such things. It will forever be appreciated!” ~ Missy

Photo Credit D. Rollo

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