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Hi Crush Kids’ Cancer team,
I wanted to take a pause to be a little serious and let you know how much each and every one of you is recognized and what this team truly means. Many of you have sent messages to let me and/or David know how a diagnosis of cancer is so very personal to you. I want the members of the team to know that your voice is heard, your feelings are known, and that each and every team member counts in this fight. I do know what it’s like to be given a cancer diagnosis only to learn that there are some in whom you previously might have entrusted your life and yet who are surprisingly indifferent to your potential mortality. I do know what it’s like to be a child and watch a loved one go through the horror of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. I haven’t seen patients directly in over five years, but never will I forget the look in a parent’s eyes when I would lay my stethoscope on the silent chest of his/her child who had just passed, and confirm their worst nightmare. The most hideous sound on Earth is the sound of a mother wailing in anguish upon receiving the news that her child has just passed away or that there are no treatment options left. I don’t know how else to describe it except to say, it eviscerates your soul.
Why am I sharing this with all of you some 4 years after starting the team? Because most of you have experienced any number of the cancer stories I’ve described above and it’s part of what unites us all both as a team and as fellow human beings. We get so caught up in the excitement of winning the challenge that sometimes the ugly stories behind the fight get forgotten. That’s so easy to let happen right now while David isn’t here to cheer us on.
Way more important than my understanding, however, is that David understands what it is that you have all endured (or are still battling currently). I realized this early on in the first fundraising challenge 4 years ago. No one in the fanbase knew who I was back then; most of you thought I was just some Archie-smitten teen rather than a middle-aged pediatric oncologist. So, how then, do we explain, a group of 550 strangers banding together within a 2 -week time frame and raising over $30,000 (about half of which was raised in the final 12 hours)?
David, of course, is the only possible explanation – the only common thread. What always amazed me was that while I and other adults may understand and relate to the impact of a cancer diagnosis because we have had the benefit of maturity and of direct personal experience, David understood even as a mere teenager, without ever having endured most of these experiences personally. Moreover, we all somehow knew, that David would “get it”, i.e., that he would have a level of compassion and understanding that sometimes even our closest friends might not be able to muster. We, on this team and in this fanbase, all saw something that the other viewers had missed entirely. We saw that beneath that goofy, dorky teen exterior and that ever-present smile, beat the heart of a human being with a compassion so profound, that it radiated right through the television screen and permeated deep into our own hearts. We didn’t even have to share our own individual cancer battle stories with him to feel that we were heard and understood. What’s more, we all knew, that the only way to thank him was not to give to him directly, but rather to uphold a principle that I suspect is dear to David, and that is common to all our faiths and to all humanity. Simply put, that principle is that if we witness or become aware of the potential for suffering in another, it is our obligation to do whatever we can to alleviate that suffering. This SU2C team became the first of many opportunities to fulfill that shared obligation.
So, for those of you who have been hit hard by the economy, please don’t donate financially to this team and instead consider donating blood, registering for the bone marrow registry, or just remember to do your regular cancer screening. If, however, you think you can comfortably afford to donate even a little to the team and you support the strategy of SU2C as much as I do, then I hope you will do what you can to bring us one step closer to finding successful, tolerable treatments and preventing the suffering that cancer forces so many to endure. The more we raise, the greater the reminder to the world that David is not just a great singer, but a great man to have inspired such a team. Given that we raised over $30,000 with a team half the size and raised about $15,000 in the final 12 hours, I know we can still pull this off.
Thanks again for all of the support,
CLICK HERE to donate.
Note from janey:
This came to my inbox and of course I read it before posting it. The only proper response to this unbelievably, beautifully written letter is, “Where is my checkbook?”
PS. While you have the tissues out, be sure to read Deb’s latest post on Snowangelz, “Dear @DavidArchie“.