If you don’t someone who has been touched by cancer, then it’s an unfortunate fact that at some point in your life you will. We are lucky that we live in Houston that has MD Anderson, which is on the cutting edge of cancer research and has the best facilities for patients and families who are seeking cancer care. Last night, M.D. Anderson had their annual “Conversation With A Living Legend” dinner. We were there. Not because we were press asked to cover the event or even because we are part of the social scene of Houston. We were there because we have stood in the cancer line and have had family members that have stood in the cancer line.
MD Anderson: The Cancer Line
We decided to write about the dinner last night because it touched us in a way that we felt we needed to share. We aren’t getting paid to share this, and MD Anderson doesn’t even know we are writing about them or the dinner, but it was an amazing evening that was filled with hope, laughter, tears and the future of a cure for cancer. Cancer is a mean disease. It takes over the life of the person who has it, and if you have stood in the cancer line, you understand how all consuming it is, and if you haven’t, but know someone who has, you have watched and worried and understand what we are saying. It is a silent disease that can kill you from the inside out and sometimes from the outside in. It doesn’t care about race, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation. Cancer only cares about which cells it can attack, where it can attach and what it can kill and destroy.
It is up to the brilliant cancer researchers, many of whom are in Houston at MD Anderson, to figure out how to destroy it before it destroys us. The president of MD Anderson, Dr. Ronald DePinho, put it well, when he talked about how when his father died from cancer, he knew he was not only going to devote his life to oncology, but to find a way to cure cancer and that the goal of MD Anderson was to one day look out the window of the buildings and see no more cancer line. And, progress is being made.
Immunotherapy is having a huge effect on curing melanoma in some patients and there is a new study that will be starting on Uterine Cancer. Every day, the doctors at MD Anderson work tirelessly in their labs finding new ways to figure out how to kill cancer cells using new and improved ways, while trying to maintain the health of the patient. Because, at MD Anderson, it’s not just about killing cancer, it’s also about whole patient health. From healthy eating, to exercise, to psychologically improving your life. Every person that works in that building cares more than you can imagine, and the feeling of hope that you get when you walk through the doors is almost like a sigh of relief that you have found the right place to help you in your quest to fight a disease that can be untreatable and incurable.
The evening was intimate and lovely. The food was good, the wine was tasty and the atmosphere was positive. This was a crowd that is savvy, wise, smart and wants out of the cancer line. Shara Fryer was the MC for the evening and she ran the program like the professional that she is. The Invocation, given by the Reverend Dave Peterson was the most moving speech of the evening, as far as we were concerned. When he was done, he left everyone talking about his words of ending the cancer line and how powerful what he spoke of was. Former Secretary of State James Baker was full of wit, but the true hero’s of the evening were Tom Brokaw and Bob McNair.
Tom Brokaw came out and introduced a video that showed the life of Bob McNair. He had done a voice over on the video, that had many moments of humor and it was very touching. When he sat down in a chair on stage facing the Texans owner, he interviewed him as if they had known each other for years. Bob McNair talked about his life, his work, his football team and the concussion issues that had been going on and what they were doing about it. We loved how he discussed the lengths he goes to with the new young players to help them manage the new found fame and money they now have, and more importantly, how he chooses his players.
And, he talked about his own experience about standing in the cancer line, as did Tom Brokaw. This was a very moving part of the evening. Cancer can touch anyone. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. It doesn’t matter how much power you have. It just doesn’t matter.
J-Vibe feels blessed that we live in a city that has a facility such as MD Anderson who will one day have no one standing in the cancer line, because they will find a cure for cancer.