This Is Why - Mike Thompson

We all know someone who has been touched by cancer in some way. Like Kevin Bacon, it's easy to think of all the connections we have to the disease. We know someone who has survived it, we know someone who is no longer part of this physical world because of it, and those who are fighting as you read these very words. I am a member of each group.

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As a 4-time cancer survivor, I can say with confidence that I hate cancer more than anything in this world. It tried to kill me, it's taken friends and loved ones from my life, and our dog Jack - my "child" and best friend - just lost his battle with lymphoma. We use words and phrases to attack and vilify cancer with ubiquitous phrases and slogans: "Cancer sucks. F*ck Cancer. Fight Cancer. Cancer is a Dirty Word. Cancer is an Asshole. Keep Fighting. Never Give Up."

Top: After one of Mike’s 75 surgeries. Bottom: Mike atop Mount Kilimanjaro.

Top: After one of Mike’s 75 surgeries. Bottom: Mike atop Mount Kilimanjaro.

I hate cancer because - despite best laid plans - it persists. Despite advancements in technology and medicine and health care, cancer resists. With organizations and societies and charities and conferences and summits and colleges and communities all rallying to defeat this faceless enemy, it still seems to win out.


But I know cancer will never beat me. I know cancer did not "defeat" the loved ones who are no longer here with us. I know cancer does not feel the way we feel - that it doesn't have the privilege of experiencing joy, or happiness, or contentment. Cancer cannot ski down a powdered mountain or watch the sun set over a sea of pearls. Cancer cannot consume a cup of coffee on a cool autumn morning, or pick fresh strawberries from a field in the spring. Yes, cancer sucks. But it will never be better than us.


Cancer will never have what I have. Cancer will never define me. Cancer will never experience the joy that life brings. And like the legendary broadcaster Stuart Scott once said, "You BEAT cancer by how you live, while you live." Cancer isn't winning, we beat it everyday.

Michael Walsh