Desiree’s Uncle Jerry

When you first hear “Cancer” most people automatically think of breast cancer because we have a whole month dedicated to it and everyone and everything is pink, but what about all the other types of cancer?

What about their month and their specific color?  They need to be recognized just as much as breast cancer.  There are many different types of cancer and they have their own special colors and months, but people don’t know about them.  October is the only month that people recognize and that is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  During this month throughout the world everything is pink and everywhere you go you see breast cancer slogans.  People support this type of cancer a lot, especially at sporting events, which is great but there are other types of cancer.  They should be recognized and supported, too.

November seems just like another month out of the year, no big deal right?  No, it should be a very big deal.  November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.  If you or a loved one hasn’t experienced lung cancer you probably didn’t know this; most people don’t because it isn’t widely known and people don’t support it like they do breast cancer awareness.

 When I was eight years old my uncle, Jerry, suddenly became very sick.  October 18, 2003 we took him to the Gaffney ER and I waited impatiently in the waiting room.  Although I was very young and didn’t quite understand what was going on I remember it like it was yesterday.  I could see that everyone was very upset and my Mama’s friend came to pick my brother and me up from the hospital.

At this time I didn’t know my uncle had cancer. The doctor had told us it was just a sinus infection.  The doctor proceeded to do a CT scan and they found out that UncleJerry had lung cancer and it had already spread to his brain.  He was already at Stage IV.  The doctors told us that we would have six to eight good months with him.

Uncle Jerry went to Gibbs Cancer Center for two days and came back home on October 22, 2003.  Friday, October 23, he went to receive his radiation and they kept him in the hospital.  I can remember my dad picking me up from school and I remember us going to the hospital.  I spent many hours sitting in the waiting room while my family was with Uncle Jerry.  I was scared to go see him.  I didn’t know what to expect, so I just sat in the waiting room.

My dad took me to the hospital that Saturday and Sunday.  On that Sunday, when we got there, I decided I would go back to Uncle Jerry’s room and see him.  Jerry was smiling and sitting up in his bed in his Wranglers and cowboy boots watching TV.  He looked just like he did when I saw him before this all happened.  I was very glad I got to see him.  I never thought when I walked out of his hospital room it would be the last time I got to see him, but it was.

Monday, October 27, 2003 when I got out of school I went to my cousin’s grandpa’s house.  My aunt picked us up later that night and took us to my grandparent’s house.  There were a lot of cars there and I wasn’t sure what was happening.  My mother then explained to my brother and I that her brother, my Uncle Jerry had passed away.  He died just 9 days after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

 As the years go by I understand more and more.  I now realize everything that has gone on and how hard it was.  October is a very hard month for me because I miss my uncle very much.  I was so young and I wish that I could have more time to spend with my uncle.

Lung cancer is nothing to play with.  It is the number one killer in this world of cancers.  I think we should support it just as much, if not more, than breast cancer.  If it’s the number one type of cancer killer, then we need to be helping to cure it.  We need to be reducing the death rate and saving peoples’ lives.  Innocent people are being harmed and we are sitting back waiting and letting the month of November just go by like it’s another month instead of taking a stand and making a change.

I walk into places in October and everything is pink.  I see all of these people wearing their pink shirts and their cute bracelets supporting their loved ones.  I would like to make a difference.  I would love to go out into the public and see pearl, the color designated for lung cancer awareness, everywhere.  Seeing people supporting lung cancer would really warm my heart. 

I would love to see this happen all over the world.  I would definitely feel some comfort by walking into not just Wal-Mart, but many different stores in November and see everything pearl for lung cancer.  This would show that people do care about other types of cancer and want to make a difference.             

The longer we wait the more lives that are being taken by lung cancer.  Even though I have lost a loved one to lung cancer I could help prevent someone else’s life from being taken and maybe even my own.

The world is a cruel place and you never know what might happen, I would like to take a stand now and help fight lung cancer.

(The above essay was written by Desiree Eubanks during her senior year in High School.  Desiree is now a college student in the process of becoming a nurse. Unfortunately, Desiree’s Papa Lee, Uncle Jerry’s father,  has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer.  Desiree and her entire family want NOW to be the time to create awareness of the huge and devastating impact of lung cancer on patients and their families all over the world.)