Friday, April 13, 2012

Cancer is not the Winner Here

You often hear grieving parents say "parents are not supposed to out live their children". One could argue that given our typical student profile that professors are not supposed to outlive their students either. This has been a tough year at Liberal Arts University. A former student died tragically at the beginning of the year and the whole community grieved at the unfulfilled promise of the young man.

On a related note I had a different student about ten years ago roll through my classes. She was bright and hard working. Indeed, she spent a summer working for me on a project to convert my many lab procedures and manuals to a digital format that allowed me to get rid of dead tree manuals. I still use her files.

She moved on from this university and we stayed in touch. We did not agree on a few things that she felt strongly about and over the years she would friend me and un-friend me on Facebook as we drifted back and forth through each others lives. She was a valued former student that made the transition to friend.

She was never really a small woman, but active and fit and at times would try to lose weight with various diet and fitness plans. A couple of years ago as a motivational tool she took pictures of herself over the summer to track how she was doing with her current diet and exercise plan. Late in the summer of 2010 she noticed a small black mole on her leg. She died from melanoma two days ago and we buried her today. She was strong, and bright and funny right up to the end. On April 3 this year she posted this message in part:

"Please know that I love you all and have enjoyed having you be a part of my journey. I appreciate every bit of love and every word of encouragement more than I can express. Now, it's time for your own journeys. Go and continue what I can't. Cancer is not the winner here."

There is one thing she she wanted us to do though, her last couple of years were dedicated to trying to get the message out to young people that they need to take care of their skin and as part of that she sent pretty much everyone she knew the video below in hopes that it might change one persons behaviour. So, Monica, this link is for you. Godspeed.

About Me

My Photo
For a while it was all about research and then it was all about teaching and now it's all about trying to find a balance while teaching at a small liberal arts and science university.