This Is Why - Laurel Shambley
Cancer, I hate you. I always have and I always will. You continue to show up in lives young and old and there is nothing good that comes from having you around. Lives are lost, finances are burdened, emotions are tampered, all because of you. Most of us are left holding on to our most precious memories, picking up the pieces, and doing our best to carry on.
You first came into my life when I was eight years old. I learned of you quickly and was informed you had taken control of my grandfather and there was no drug, no treatment strong enough to beat you. You then won your battle with my childhood dog and have appeared in several of my friend’s lives as I watched them go through the same emotional and physical battle as I have. But the time I hated you the most was when you picked on my own mother.
November 9th, 2015, my strong, smart, and astonishing mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. These words broke down the strongest, toughest woman I knew and made her feel as though she was frail. Even though my mom was determined to beat this beast of a disease with radiation, chemo, and a full heart of hope, she unfortunately lost her battle four months and twenty-two days later.
Although my life and other lives have been impacted by cancer, I do try to find the good. In 2016, I first learned of Team I Hate Cancer. I once thought I was the only one with deep hatred in my heart against this disease. I quickly realized there was a group across the states who had the same feelings as me. I loved their drive, I loved their dedication, I loved their support and I loved their crew. It was this team that I knew I wanted to be a part of to help raise awareness in my area and show my community why I hate cancer.
I signed up for my first half Ironman prior to my mom’s passing. I knew I had to continue with my training and complete this race as she would have wanted me to. During summer training I reached out to Team I Hate Cancer to order triathlon attire as this race was for Mom. Mom would have been my biggest fan and I knew if she was there physically, she would have been waiting alongside the road every time I went by and at the finish line. The day of the race, I met so many great people along the way, carrying on conversations with strangers on their hate for cancer too. While mom was not there physically, I knew she was with me the entire 70.3 mile journey.
I also try to see the positive through my career. I have followed my mom’s footsteps and have worked for a Contract Research Organization (CRO) over the last eight years. A CRO provides support to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. Through this we run clinical trials of all phases and therapeutic areas, some of which are oncology studies, and hope that one day we can approve drugs and find cures for these diseases.
Although there is not a cure for cancer, I am hopeful there will be one day! Until then, Team I Hate Cancer will continue to make large impacts around the world by providing support, creating awareness and raising money for cancer fighting causes!