I vividly remember receiving my cousin Becky's high school graduation announcement in the mail. Her picture sat on my grandmother's forest green Wurlitzer piano for at least four years. Natural enemies of photographs like sunlight, sulfur compounds and high humidity never managed to degrade her spirited smile. Even with an aggressive case of metastatic melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, biting at her ankles, she continued to radiate strength and positivity. Recently, Becky received news that the cancer had spread to her brain. Her resolve is astonishing. To be faced with such adversity only to strike back with even more strength is downright inspiring. Her Facebook updates always include phrases equivalent to "but I'll keep fighting" - squashing any lingering notion of surrender. It certainly makes me take a step back and treasure life a little more.
I might not know her favorite flavor of ice cream. I might also live 2,784 miles away. But that's the thing about family. Those small details are insignificant. We share a familial connection - our paterfamilias. Two of the truest and most intelligent men I know. Plus, our moms? Together, they have a knack for beer pong. All of this is more than enough for me to support her as best as I can - through this post or simple encouraging comments on Facebook. We're family.
Do yourself a favor. Don't use tanning beds. Wear sunscreen. The nebulous threat of cancer isn't worth it. Seriously. Please send whatever positives thoughts and prayers you have to Becky and her family. We all appreciate it.