After an Amazing trip to Spain, it is great to end my trip in DC advocating for One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) http://www.ovaconline.org/ representing National Brain Tumor Society http://www.braintumor.org/
in honor of my wife. OVAC Is represented by 39 cancer organizations, unifying for one message.
NIH is where 95% of the research comes from for cancer drugs and therapies. While I’m a big proponent for small government and, I’m vehemently against increased wasteful spending, NIH was the reason that cancer deaths are down the last 20 years. Their funding though over the last 10 years has not increased. Matter of fact it’s gone down. There are no real new drugs in the pipeline. When I heard “there’s nothing more we can do for your wife”, it’s because researchers have abandoned their research for lack of funds or sustained paychecks. They went in search of either another occupation or another country that will fund the research. NIH was the largest funder of cutting-edge research for cancer drugs. No researchers. No new drugs. There are plethora of other reasons
(insert political controversy here ) that there are no new drugs, but this is the single biggest reason.
Government usually sucks at doing things right. However, the NIH is responsible for $900 billion a year in positive economic impact. For every dollar the NIH invest in research it returns $144. I would venture to say there are no other programs within the government that do this. (source: Forbes magazine, and too many other sources to name).
I am happy that I can be a part of influencing our Texas lawmakers in Federal Government. I know Lindy and our story makes a difference. I know it does. I even had a staffer from Pete Session office, his legislative director Lindsey Pitts, remember my name and story from two months ago when I was here with the NBTS. Pete knew me and my story by the time I left. I know he’ll never forget it.
Good way to end an amazing trip.
Made some good friends from Texas. Will from Austin’s chapter of Livestrong, a 22 year survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was very inspirational with what he has done since becoming a survivor. Kevin from San Antonio is a survivor of bone cancer. It took his left arm. Very involved in advocacy. He was equally as inspirational. Really glad to join these guys in talking to our legislators as their constituents. Thanks to the National Brain Tumor Society for asking me back and making it possible for me to be here.
While I was telling Lindy’s story to all the lawmakers, it hit me. I thought all along this was to honor Lindy. While it is, I also realized that there are many, many of my friends and family who are or have been affected by cancer. My cousin Sheila died in her 20’s of Pancreatic cancer; my dad had prostate cancer that he beat; a good friend of mine’s best friend is fighting for her life with the exact tumor that my wife had. These stories could go on and on and on. We are all 2-3 degrees of separation from this horrifying disease. God knows that I DON’T wish the pain that I feel on anyone. Those words, “There is nothing more we can do. We are out of options” should never be heard by a father, mother, spouse or any other family member. While my story is not unique, It is what I do with the story that makes a difference. I know Lindy is looking down on me and she’s proud that I didn’t stop what she started. I can barely write that without a steady flow of tears from my eyes. I know she is happy and that’s enough for me.
I thank Jesus for my strength, as he gives me peace and growth. It is good to have a foundation. But I don’t think I will ever truly be fine or past this. Some part of me will ALWAYS miss her and want to keep her alive by sharing her story and will to fight. The more i think about it the more impressed with her courage I get. Her strength was my strength all along. I would give anything to dream again with her but because that isn’t possible, I will always tell her story to anyone who will listen.
I’m excited to get home. In the airport right now in DC waiting on a plane. I’m done waiting on trains, planes and taxis. Had all the croissants and bocadillos I can stand. I’m done with calculating time zone changes/differences. Ready to get back to my bed in the good old CST.
Thanks for following. Your thoughts, encouragements, and general comments are/were very encouraging. It kept me going. I’m officially done traveling for awhile. Time to get back to work!