It will be ten years in September 2016 that my Dad was first diagnosed with bladder cancer. As with many significant events in my life, I remember the news as though it were yesterday. I had just completed my first week of flying as a Los Angeles based flight attendant, following my six and a half weeks of initial training, when returned home to Colorado for my days off. Arriving home to my parents house, they sat me down on the couch, one on either side. My Dad, a pilot for the same airline I had just started working for, began by saying that he wouldn’t be flying for a while, that the tests he’d had while I was gone had come back positive for bladder cancer.
With tears in my eyes, I began to open my mouth, only to have my Dad stop me and say that he didn’t want me quitting my job in order to be home full time, it was as though he had read my mind. He said for me to keep flying, have fun and that everything would be all right. My Dad would be going out on a medical leave in order to have surgery and recover, and if all went as planned he would be back to flying in six months, the same time I would complete my probationary period.
Well everything did go as planned. He had the surgery, returned to work cancer free, and flew for the next two and a half years before the cancer made its return. By the second occurrence, it had metastasized and spread so that this time when my Dad went out on a medical leave, he had to do chemo and radiation. After months of aggressive treatment, the cancer was beaten back for a second, albeit shorter, time. It was only nine months later that my Dad’s cancer reared its head for what would be the third and final time. With a third prognosis on June 1, 2010, the cancer worked its way through his body with a vengeance until it finally won and ended the battle on July 22, 2010.
In honor and remembrance of my father, a man who could always be found with a book in his flight bag to read on trips, especially when he found himself awake in the middle of the night due to continuous insomnia, I have decided to take part in the Charity Reading Challenge. I first came across the challenge while browsing through different yearly reading challenges online. The idea behind this one is that you pledge to set aside a certain amount of money for every book read, and then at the end of the year you donate all the money you set aside to the charity of your choice.
Having looked at how many books I have read this year, 70 with the possibility of a couple more by the end of the year, I have decided to set aside $1-$5 per book read. $1 will be the average donation, but if the book is on the longer side (like any in the Outlander or Game of Thrones series, or on the more difficult side like War and Peace) then those books will warrant a $5 donation. I will then donate the total amount to standup2cancer.org in my Father’s name.
If you are a follower of this blog, or have stumbled across it in your daily internet searches, I invite you to create your own charity reading challenge for the charity that is close to your heart.