Cancer Sucks!

The Valley of Hope Gala (not Gaila) is an upcoming fundraising event in Bakersfield, CA to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The event will be held Saturday, 9/24/22 at the Bakersfield Museum of Art and will feature great food from Bakersfield’s own Chef Lino, silent and live auctions to help the American Cancer Society finish the fight against cancer, and, of course, awesome live music and dancing from yours truly, Will Gail Dance?

From a very personal perspective, cancer was never on my radar until 2009 when I decided to run a full marathon (26.2 miles) to fulfil a bucket list item and to deal with my emotions around the passing of my father. I started training furiously, but I really didn’t have any idea how to prepare for such a monumental feat. I’d heard of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training program through Runner’s World Magazine and realized the only to finish a marathon was to do it for a cause bigger than myself.

I signed-up, I ran, and I finished the Eye Q Two Cities Marathon in 2010. The last I heard, the little girl for whom our team ran is alive and well.

Sadly, less than two years after finishing the marathon, my mother passed away from very aggressive pancreatic cancer. In trying to help my sisters and I understand the magnitude of our mother’s case, the amazing doctors explained it by describing the cancer as Patrick Swayze style versus Steve Jobs style. We were all devastated.

Within a few years, one friend succumbed to prostate cancer while another friend survived breast cancer. One person had a breast cancer scare. Another person had a cervical cancer scare. Then I remembered a childhood friend lost his father at a very young age to leukemia while a former pastor went through leukemia and survived. Over the years, I’ve played a few concerts to help raise money to fight childhood cancer.

On one hand, its easy to think a person is more impacted by cancer as they age. On the other hand, cancer sucks regardless of age. Maybe I (or we) didn’t (or don’t) think about cancer too much because its impact is so devastating and fighting it is so demanding and dealing with it is so heartbreaking.

With hope, there’s some beauty, too. Whether directly or indirectly, maybe it softens a hard shell or hardens a soft shell, whatever the case may be, or maybe we find whatever it is we need as required for the life we are called to live.

Even when faced with difficulty, we can choose to help and to have hope. We can give what we can to help those who need what we have. We can share our gifts freely. We can share a song to let our spirit rest and to help us recall good, happy times.

We can dance! With some rad 80’s tune all queued-up in the band’s repertoire of GenX frenzy and fun, it’s a pretty good bet Gail Will Dance?, too! We hope to see you there, and thank you for supporting this epic cause.

Please visit Valley of Hope to learn more and to purchase event tickets. According to the website, the American Cancer Society is working to finish the fight against every cancer in every community. They are the largest private, not-for-profit funder of cancer research in the United States, investing more than $4 billion since 1946. Thanks in part to our contributions, more than 1.5 million lives have been saved in the US in the past two decades.