One Stupid Thing To Stop Saying About Cancer

One Stupid Thing To Stop Saying About Cancer

Of all the cliché news phrases that drive me nuts, and trust me, there are more than a few—

You can put up at the top of the list, “He lost his battle with cancer.”


We need to stop.

Just stop saying this.

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Dear Reader, if your email to me is any indication, you get it.

Ever since I began to share my mom’s journey of her recent diagnosis with lymphoma you have avalanched me with your story.

With your mom’s story.

With your child’s story.

With your sister’s story.

There are no shortage of cancer stories out there.

And so many brave warriors.

The lengths the ones you love go to fight cancer is amazing, inspiring, hopeful and daunting.

There is not a single loser among you.

I found a powerful, slap me across the face reminder the other day.

Surely, you’ve heard about the recent passing of ESPN sportscaster, Stuart Scott.

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He was a broadcasting trailblazer I met few times in my career. Though I would be over-embellishing to call him more than the good friend of some friends of mine.

Still, he caught my attention last year with his remarkable acceptance speech as he received the “Jimmy V Award for Perseverance,” honoring him for the way he was  battling through three rounds of cancer.

He’s the one who convinced me to lose the idea of losing.

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Stuart said, “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

Boy, did he live.

Boy, are so many of you.

Living in the way you stare cancer in the face.

Living in the way you take on surgery, chemo and radiation.

Living in the way you now appreciate each day and moment in a way you never did before.

Living in the way you leave nothing left unsaid to those that you love.

I know because you’ve taken the time to drop me a line and share your challenges, your fears, your triumphs.

I know because you’ve taken the time to share with me the lives and stories of someone you’ve loved who has passed.

You school me each day that yep, cancer sure does suck. It is something you would never pick. It rearranges what you had planned for your life.

And then you show me that through all that, you choose to be the kind of person you want to be.

That is where the true power lies.

In the person who fights.

In the loved one who turns into a Super Hero caretaker.

I am humbled, educated and inspired.

The idea that you might lose, that anyone lost a battle to cancer—

Please, please, just stop.

For all who have fought and are fighting.

For all who are taking care of your loved one, I hereby declare the score:

You: 1,000

Cancer: Big Fat Zero.

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One p.s. to my column– I received a wonderful email from a woman named Linda who shared with me the video her 14-year-old daughter made after her husband passed a few years ago.  I love it!

Find more uplifting stories on my website,

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.

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