This Is Why - Paul Puma

I was always taught to never tell someone that I hate them. Words can never be unsaid and the word “hate” can destroy a relationship. Understanding this, I can say with the utmost of confidence...Cancer, I hate you! 

Unfortunately, I do not think saying this will end our relationship no matter how much I wish it. Even as my hate for you grows you continue to show up in my life. However, it’s not only my personal experience with you that fuels my hate. 

Perhaps it’s you showing up in the lives of children that hurts me most. The total disregard for the impact you have on a young life is truly disgraceful. No child deserves to enter this world with a fight on their hands, and you seem to consistently target them. Cancer, you are a coward. 


Of course you do not stop there. With your sickness you deeply impact the lives of the afflicted family. The world of hurt that you bring is indescribable. Watching the lives and hearing the stories of the suffering loved ones is heartbreaking. The agonizing pain that you bring to a family is unforgivable. Cancer, you are corroding.

Your effects show up financially in our lives as well. Few things can bring as much financial insecurity as your sickness. With every treatment, infusion, surgery, pill, scan, and follow up after follow up comes a bill. Right along with this, you can take our ability to work, leaving us too sick to afford you. Cancer, you are crippling. 

I can remember playing soccer in grade school and asking why my grandmother couldn’t go to my games. I can remember asking why grand-mom is always in bed. I can remember her funeral. It was the first funeral that I had ever attended and it was not the last one that you caused. More recently I remember my concern for my wife, mother, father and many other friends and family as I discovered that I had acquired you. I remember reassuring them that I would be fine and that you were nothing to fear. I also remember the powerless feeling that walked hand-in-hand with every reassurance. Cancer, you are unforgettable.


My last radiation treatment was September 25th. I rang a bell with great vigor, hugged loved ones, and said goodbye to some of the kindest, most warm-hearted, nurses I have ever met. Bonds were tightened, strength was gained, and a great feeling of accomplishment is perhaps still with me and mine. Cancer, no matter what the outcome, you are always the loser.

Before fighting you, my wife and I were attempting to grow our own family and feared that you were going to prevent this. With the help of The Livestrong Foundation, amazingly gifted doctors, and Team I Hate Cancer, we are expecting our little girl this June! Cancer, in spite of you, people will always continue to grow, flourish, and overcome all that you put in our path.

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Michael Walsh