The 4th of February may mean different things to different people. It may also mean nothing at all and just be another day. But the 4th of February each year is World Cancer Day. It is an international day marked to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.
Many of us know someone who at some point in their life fought a battle they never thought they would face. Some of the fighters – be they survivors or victims – are people close to us. People who have shown us that cancer is not a death sentence, it is not something whose name we should not utter, but rather it is merely a word, a life sentence that pushes one to live.
People who fight cancer and all its consequences understand what it means to never give up hope, to show courage by taking each day at a time and promising to fight a bit more the next day. They understand what Christopher Reeve meant when he said that “once you choose hope, anything is possible” and they have felt it more than anyone else that the human spirit is much stronger than anything that can happen to it.
Cancer is a battle we may need to fight more than once. Courage comes from not giving up. Because sometimes you have to go through things and not around them to survive. But that only makes you more determined to persist, to win. And it gives hope and sets a prominent example to those around you.
People who have faced cancer are the ones who know what life means and what matters most in it. Because they have faced something they cannot describe, but have come out stronger, sometimes clenching their teeth so that their families don’t see them suffering. And for that, they deserve more than just our respect and a single day to commemorate them.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have” (Cayla Mills).