After four years of sickness and tremendous pain, my sister Debby Greer-Costello lost her battle against leukemia in May of 2009. She was just 42 years old.
To this day, I struggle to make sense of Deb’s suffering. By the time her soul left her blistered, jaundiced body, she had been on oxygen, had a tracheotomy and dialysis, suffered from encephalitis that made her hallucinate, and couldn’t walk or eat. She was restrained to prevent her from ending her own life for six months. It has taken me years to accept that 1.) it was even ok to be angry about her treatment and 2.) eventually I could choose not to be angry and sad about this. After all, Deb raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society even while struggling with her own illnesses. She was a beautiful person who cared tremendously for others her entire life. It really is stupid to dwell on anything else but that.
So in her honor and at the coaxing of swim guru and Awesome Heroku VP of Sales Mike Pyle, I have joined the Swim Across America Salesforce team. Swim Across America is dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming-related events.
Our team is committed to a swim in the San Francisco Bay on September 29. As anyone who knows me can attest, I hate cold. I’m also not a fan of sharks and underwater creepy things. The Bay apparently has both (although sharks aren’t as common as Alcatraz guards led to believe). I’m doing this even though I’m scared because this is a cakewalk compared to what the 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women who will get cancer in America have to face. It is my honor to help them in their fight, even in this small way.
Cancer is so powerful, we can only fight it by cutting it out or injecting our bodies with poison to get rid of it. I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit. We need to get rid of this disease forever. Please help me do so by donating to Swim Across America at my fundraising page, and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. Awareness helps, but paying researchers to destroy cancer seems like a much sounder bet.
If you have or have had cancer, feel free to drop me a line at michelle(at)michellesblog.com and I will dedicate my swim to you. If you have had a loved one pass away from cancer, I will do the same for them. Please remember that you are not alone and let me know if I can help in any other way.