Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Mistaken Invitation

I wasn't surprised when I opened my mailbox yesterday, and the letter was there.

I knew what was in the envelope before I opened it, because I've gotten that letter at this time every year for the past few years.

It begins:

"You are invited!
(date in June)
to Celebrate a World with...."

I am happy to report that, once again, I am not eligible to attend.  The rest of the invite reads:

"..to Celebrate a World with Less Cancer and More Birthdays".  Why wouldn't I want to attend?

But first, I need to back up a little.

For several years, I participated in the American Cancer Society (ACS) Relay for Life, when my employer had a team. The Relay is a walk where you participate as a team.  One person must be on the track at all times, for about 18 consecutive hours, so many team members (I never did) camp out on the track.  There are giveaways, entertainment, and a lot of high school and college students have a good time as they try to stay awake all night.  They cook dinner - coffee is provided - and breakfast.

 Of course, as a team member, you are expected to fundraise for the ACS.  I would usually donate an afghan to our team to raffle, too.

Many people in my life have been impacted by cancer.  Three of my friends (the first one when I was 13) have died from cancer.  Several others are survivors.  Two dear friends are currently under treatment.

When you register for the Relay for Life, you indicate if you are a cancer survivor or not.  Survivors get a participating T-Shirt of a different color than people who have never been diagnosed.  I always registered as a person who has not had cancer.  I have never received a cancer diagnosis.

I was been a caregiver for someone with cancer, but it wasn't for a long period of time, and that person is no longer in active treatment.  One day, that person may be living up here, and I will pass the invite on to her.

Survivors of cancer are invited to attend a free dinner at the Relay, where they are honored.  A caregiver of their choice can also attend at no charge.

Somehow, I am on the ACS's list as a cancer survivor.  For over five years, I've been getting this invitation letter, long before someone I am a long distance caregiver for received a cancer diagnosis.  I've sometimes passed the letter along (the invite is not personalized) to a local cancer survivor in my life, and I will do the same this year.  And, I suppose, I could contact our ACS chapter and ask them to take my name off their survivors list.  But I'm not going to.

In a way, this invitation reminds me of how fortunate I am to not be able to attend this dinner.  I am grateful for their mistake.

What are you grateful for today?


  1. I’m not sure about this, but I would imagine that cancer is a disease that absolutely everyone has had some experience with. Interesting to me that the basic treatment for cancer hasn’t really changed in 50 years. Surgery, radiation, chemo. Even though there has probably been billions of dollars raised to try to fight this plague.
    Because I have had so much cancer in my life,(not personally) I think in terms of not if I am going to get it, but rather when. Sad, huh?
    I had a difficult time trying to answer your question about what I am grateful for today.
    I am sure I could come up with quite a long list. I’ll pick being healthy and sound enough to be able comment on your blog :)

  2. I'm grateful that I'm around to receive that kind of invitation. And for the programs the American Cancer Society has that were very supportive when I needed them.

  3. Sometimes, small things like that little mistake can really make an impact on our lives. It's wonderful that you participate every year.

  4. I too am on this same list. My uncle passed from brain cancer and after that we somehow got on their mailing list. I hadn't thought of passing along the invitation, but will do that from now on.

  5. I captained a team for several years when I was working. I also was the one with the tent and I camped out. It is a very worthwhile cause.

  6. What an interesting response to mistakenly getting on that mailing list. Perhaps it isn't a mistake just for that reason.

    What am I grateful for today? Surprise minimum days!

  7. No stranger to cancer either. I know my mom gets those invitations. yet my step-father passed a few years ago.

  8. I have lost both of my parents to cancer and my youngest sister participates in her local Relay for Life each year in WV. I donated a quilt one year for a raffle for her team.

    Today I am grateful that I didn't injure my wrist any more severely than a sprain around the incision site from my thumb surgery last week.


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