Fight Cancer

Aloha friends! Over the next 40 days, I am challenging myself with bringing light to a little known form of cancer that has had a significant effect on my family, and many people around the world.

853ded7a24f87e4caa7f1ff6667cb19eStomach (or gastric) cancer is the 5th most common form of cancer here in the United States, and is the 3rd most fatal form of cancer, globally. Yet, according to statistics, only 0.23% of the National Cancer Institute’s 2013 budget was directed towards stomach cancer research. Stomach cancer receives the least amount of government funding, yet it is one of the highest killers. Something needs to change.

In 1996, my mother, Karen Tanaka, was diagnosed with stomach cancer. We were told at the time that there is a very slim chance of survival. Stomach cancer flies under the radar and goes undetected until it’s almost too late. Despite the odds, my mother chose to fight it with all she could. She underwent surgery to remove nearly all of her stomach. She strategically planned the battle, weighing out her options of treatment. But the cancer was too aggressive and quickly spread throughout her body. In less than two months, the cancer took over, and my mother passed on October 3.

That was 20 years ago, and stomach cancer is still prevalent in our world. It was my mother’s wish to fight, and today I continue that fight. I fight to bring awareness to our community. I fight to bring funding to the researchers who are dedicating their lives to finding a cure for stomach cancer.

On Saturday, October 8, I will embark on a 40 day journey. Each day, I pledge to walk at least ONE MILE to bring awareness to stomach cancer in honor of my mother. I will document the walk on social media, invite others to join me if you wish, and my goal is to educate people around the world about this little known form of cancer.

I have been working with our local cancer center, the Hawaii Cancer Center, to accept donations to help fund researchers in this area. While I am not asking you to donate, if you feel compelled to help, please click on the link below if you would like to donate to the University of Hawaii Cancer Center (through the UH Foundation) in honor of my mother.

I know I am but one person. But God has put this on my heart and He can do anything. Just as he fed thousands with a single loaf of bread and a handful of fish, I have complete faith that He can do great things with this challenge. If I can just ask of one thing, and that is for you to pray with me for all the lives who have been touched by stomach cancer, for the doctors who do their best to treat this disease, for the families who have lost loved ones, for the families who are survivors, for the families who will be diagnosed in the future, for the researchers who work tirelessly to help people they will probably never meet, for a blessing upon all the donations to the University of Hawaii Cancer Center.

Friends, though we may be small, great things can come. I picture this as the mustard seed: so small, yet has the potential to grow exponentially. I have faith that even if I don’t see it in my lifetime, there will be a cure for the generations to come. And that is a legacy my mother will leave with the world.

Mahalo Nui Loa.

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