I detest cancer. Loathe cancer. I could list a number of abrasive words to summarize why I detest the invasive disease. I was 4 years old and sitting across the living room when I first witnessed someone die of cancer—my maternal grandmother. By my teens, uncontrolled cancer malignancies killed two of my dad’s sisters, a cousin, and several people in my rural community. My mom and two of her sisters slugged it out with cancer. Aunt Bev and Mom didn’t win that battle. For 12 years, my dad showed relentless strength and character punching back at his cancer. Dad left his fighting gloves behind when he died in 2005.

photo-version-2I challenge us all to put on fighting gloves against this insidious disease that attacks so many and so many parts of the body. In America, October and pink are symbols of breast cancer awareness, and gratefully, cancer in general.

In October 2014, I discovered these “love locks” attached to a waterfront fence at Chambers Bay Park in Tacoma, Wash. The mini padlocks are commonly inscribed with the names or wedding date of sweethearts who snap closed their lock and toss the key in the water. This pink pair is engraved with the breast cancer awareness ribbon and reminds me of joining arms with the millions in our world wrangling against all types of cancer.

Who do you know right now in the fight of their life against cancer or recovering from recent treatment? I think of Jeanette, Judy and Sheri slugging away as I write.

I also think of loved ones now on the cancer survivor list: Kathy, Candy, Shelly, Jane, Wayne, Donna, Laura, Mary Jo, Beth, Karen, Cindy, Diana and so many others. The American Cancer Society reports that more than 15.5 million U.S. cancer survivors are celebrating birthdays this year. Hurray! Bravo! We salute each one of you!!! May you “live wisely and well” (Ps. 90:12, MSG).

I dedicate this post to all the brave and resilient cancer fighters and survivors, and supportive family and friends who are locking arms for a cure. So take a moment this week and offer a hug, prayers, meals, a listening ear to anyone you know with cancer. Be present at a loved one’s treatment appointment. Share a “you beat it!”kudo with a cancer survivor. Thank an oncology professional. Run a Relay for Life. Donate to cancer research. And remember those who fought the good fight, but are now gone from your sight. We all can leave our footprints on the road to a cure.