It seems that cancer has touched almost every life in some way.
Cancer has really been on my mind recently. This weekend the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was hosted in St. Louis with record participation. My wife Bethany often runs in the race in honor of her grandmother who died from breast cancer just before we started dating, but she opted not to this year given she’s about to give birth. Cancer has affected both of us in a variety of ways over the years, and our marriage has been impacted as well.
The impact of cancer in our lives has been especially meaningful lately, though.
On Sunday, Bethany’s Godmother and our close family friend Tracie Gray passed away after fighting ovarian cancer for more than five courageous years. Our relationship with Tracie and her family is deep and meaningful.
We are Godparents to her granddaughter and her daughter is the Godmother of our son. Tracie was my mother-in-law’s best friend, and her husband P.D. is a great friend and bowhunting buddy of mine.
Tracie and P.D. were one of those couples that really personified the goodness of marriage. They were high school sweethearts that always seemed so happy and content with their life. When you spent any time around them, it was obvious they were meant to spend the rest of their lives together.
Bethany and I have been together since our high school years, and some of our first dates ended with movies and pizza at P.D. and Tracie’s house. We have spent many evenings together with them around a campfire, and many days boating in a lake or floating in rafts down a local river. Tracie was literally a part of half of my life.
It is no exaggeration to say that Tracie and P.D. were awesome role models for how marriage was supposed to be. They were great parents, faithful Christians and wonderful examples of how true love looks, acts and perseveres.
You may recall a recent post I wrote about the difficulty of marriage during periods of prolonged illness. My Dad is struggling as well, but that post was also inspired by Tracie. She was so tough until the end of her life and, just as remarkable, P.D. was a rock of strength at her side through all of the many struggles that accompany the ravages of ovarian cancer.
Tracie’s friends and family were with her and honoring her until her final days. She lived a life that earned the love and respect of many, and the outpouring of support at her recent benefit was incredible. I’m sure the love and honor will be overflowing at her visitation and funeral in the next few days as well.
Tracie was simply an awesome person that touched many lives. It’s another story of the unfairness of cancer and its effect on the lives of so many.
After her diagnosis, Tracie’s family started an organization and Facebook page called Teal We Find a Cure to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and generate funds for research. I cannot stress enough the importance of learning about ovarian cancer. From their Facebook page, here is some food for thought:
Do you know what color the ovarian cancer awareness ribbon is? It is TEAL, but most people are not aware.
Most people are also not aware that ovarian cancer is known as the “silent killer” because many of the symptoms are vague and similar to other abdominal problems. Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of gynecologic cancer deaths among women in America.
Only 24 percent of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, when the cancer is confined to the ovary. Most cases are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, making it difficult to treat successfully.
One woman out of every 55 will develop ovarian cancer at some point in her lifetime.
Please do your part and inform the women in your lives about the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer.
I am sure that most of us have been faced with the impacts of cancer in our married lives.
I’d really appreciate hearing from each of you in the comments about your experiences with cancer.
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.