Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cancer

So my own t-shirt collection proved me a liar today. Last week, at the Barenaked Ladies concert, I told the girl next to me (the one who had gestures to match the lyrics in the theme song for The Big Bang Theory) that I had seen the band perform live for the first time at the Juno Awards in 2008. I had forgotten that they had played at this benefit concert I attended in 2002. It was a heckuva a lineup that turned out in memory of the organizer's wife, who had lost her battle in 2001 and the night raised $1.5 million for the new cancer research centre in Vancouver.




Since Jeff and I got together, both of us have suffered losses in our life due to cancer. 

In my case, it was first a former vice-principal, Lorne Bodin, whose passing in January 2011 was not only a loss to his family, friends and colleagues but all the students he had taught and administered to over his far-too-short career. A lovely piece also ran in the Richmond News that captured nicely the emotion felt by those who knew Lorne, detailed some of the great things this good man had done in his life and outlines the legacy he left behind.

This summer, as I was seeing my friend Lesley and her daughter off to their train from Montreal to Kingston and preparing to catch a plane back to Vancouver, I was informed by my magic iPhone Facebook newsfeed that my friend Cheryl Hutcherson had also lost her battle. Standing on the train platform in the hot Quebec summer sun, I was chilled by the thought of a world without Cheryl's smile and laughter, her love for musical theatre emanating through every part of her life, her willingness to help and her always cheerful attitude to the world. She got me hooked on playing Farmville years ago (kicked the habit last New Year's) and I introduced her to the Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe. Sadly, I was unable to attend her celebration of life, one that she had left detailed instructions for, because I was working that day but my thoughts were with her friends and family and my toe tapped a little, knowing that it would be a ceremony full of music and cheer.

In January 2012, Jeff's mentor and sensei, Les Nielsen, succumbed to cancer as well. Les was someone that everyone knew, in passing or in depth. He was the nephew of a more high-profile Les(lie) Nielsen who passed away of cancer a little more than a year before. A short and tender in memoriam was written by long-time Vancouver personality, Red Robinson, on his blog and Jeff and I decided when we were planning our wedding that we would like to donate the money earmarked for the groomsmen's boutonnieres to a cancer organization in his name. In addition, we would be taking donations at the ceremony to the cause as well.  

Which brings me to recent happenings: Yesterday, I got in contact with the BC Cancer Foundation by email and the Canadian Cancer Society by phone to find out how we would go about making the donation. Turns out that they are two very separate organizations. Who knew? We're not exactly sure yet how to decide where to donate or whether we should split the donation between the two agencies but hopefully we figure that out by springtime. It's hard to think about those who can't be there to share our day with us but we want to at least make the effort to share our day with their memory.