May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month 

May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month. To mark the occasion, 512 Pixels has donned an all-gray theme for the month.

Personally, I’ve struggled with awareness campaigns in the past. Too often, I think I get handed a flyer or see a blog post just to think “That’s terrible” before moving on with my day.

Maybe this blog post will be like that for you, but I’m hoping it won’t be.

As I’m sure many of you know, my wife and I’s oldest child has brain cancer. He was diagnosed when he as just a baby, back on Mother’s Day in 2009.

Every September, during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I raise money for St. Jude, the hospital that has — quite literally — saved Josiah’s life, without charging my family a dime for his care.

This month, I’m not asking you to donate to St. Jude, but rather consider this terrible disease on the whole. Cancer is a sick bastard. It turns kids into orphans, rips spouses away from each other, and leaves parents burying their children. It attacks infants, children, teenagers, adults and the elderly. It doesn’t give a shit about where you went to school or how much money you make; any person who crosses its path will suffer. We are all made equal in light of its strength.

Brain cancer is a particularly nasty brand. Because of the brain’s privileged position, cancer there can strip almost anything from a person. With it often comes impaired senses, physical disability, mental hardship, personality changes and emotional turmoil. Its reach extends far beyond boundaries on a MRI screen; it can do damage in any nook and cranny of the human body without ever leaving the skull.

It doesn’t have to be like this. We can beat this thing and wrestle back control. Beyond giving to some place like St. Jude, there are many ways to be involved. Things like federal research funding and healthcare that protects those with pre-exsisting conditions matter. Things like local fundraisers and volunteering matter.

I know 2017 is a big mess. There are lots of things to get worked up about in our current climate, but cancer has been taking our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers far too long.

It’s time we punch that son of a bitch right in the teeth.