This Is Why - Mike McGuiness
My dad was diagnosed with leukemia in the summer of 2005. He fought hard but ended up passing away four months later. This disease took someone from our family, friends & community who was loved and respected by more people than I can count. The first couple months and years were extremely difficult as they are with anyone who loses a loved one from cancer. I was 21 years old and really just starting my life.
I’ve gone through many stages without my dad: getting married, having a daughter, becoming top class in my company (the same company where he worked). Each occasion was a time to reflect and look inward. After the initial anger and resentment at losing my father, I decided to shred these terrible feelings. Nothing good was going to come from me wallowing in self-pity. When Mike and CJ asked me to start “hating cancer” with them, I couldn’t jump onboard quickly enough. Raising money and awareness for their cause was what I needed. Seeing the community of cancer-haters really opened my eyes to the amount of people affected by the terrible disease. It seems like more and more people I talk to have someone they love who is battling a type of cancer. Those people are the real heroes. Being able to stare cancer in the face and tell them it won’t win is life’s ultimate conviction.
Mike and CJ have grown their “hate” for cancer far and wide. The way that they have spread the message is staggering. My cancer “hate” is focused on our small beach town in Delaware. It gets a little crazy in Dewey Beach during the summer with most people decked out in their favorite NBA jersey or novelty t-shirt heading to the famous Starboard bar. Everyone tries to out-do each other for funniest or craziest outfit. My go-to is a Team I Hate Cancer shirt and hat. I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and ask about my “outfit”. From there, a 10-15 minute conversation starts. Having a beer or two with someone at a bar and talking about their own personal experience really does show what’s important in the world. I’m not trying to say I am doing anything extraordinary to help these people but sometimes just being there to listen is all anyone wants.
Many people keep their struggle or feelings inside while they go through treatment. Or if they know someone going through treatment, they have a hard time knowing what to do to help. Being able to listen and encourage sometimes is everything. I’m not a doctor or a therapist. I’m just a 36 year old ship captain living in a beach town in Delaware. Team I Hate Cancer has grown into a money and awareness raising beast and I feel blessed to help in any way I can.