This Is Why - Tim Straub

According to the World Health Organization, in 2018, an estimated 9.6 million people globally—1 in 6—lost their lives to cancer. Given this staggering number, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t hate cancer. (What’s not to hate, right?)

The real questions are these: “Why is it personal?” and “What makes someone hate cancer so much that he or she is willing to bike more than 500 miles in 6 days, all the way from Philadelphia to Maine?” These questions have an easy answer for me: I lost my Mom to stomach cancer in 2010.

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My Mom was Japanese, or should I say is Japanese. I always struggle with verb tense when disclosing her heritage. In her native Japan, gastric cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths, and, therefore, residents are screened for stomach cancer starting at age 40. In the United States, however, the prevalence of gastric cancer is so low that it does not even make many lists. I’m not one to dwell on what could have been, but what if she had been living in Japan? Did she know her sibling were screened in Japan, and could she have asked for similar screenings earlier here? To me, this is all water under the bridge, sunk costs so to speak.  


But with loss can come perspective. I value each day a bit more. I want to spend each day learning. Bettering myself. Teaching my kids. Helping others. Although the adage succinctly states we can’t change the past, the future is yet to be written. Once you understand your own why, you are free to write your future.

Until next time, keep rolling.

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Michael Walsh