“The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters.”
- Cus D'Amato
Why I fight?
I fight because cancer is everywhere, and I want to put it down permanently.
Cancer to me has always been like a set of walls closing in. Once upon a time, it was completely foreign to me - I was lucky enough to go through most of my life without having any friends or family diagnosed with it. But then in recent years, there seems to have been this ominous progression: Hearing about friends with relatives who developed cancer, then learning about my own distant relatives who were diagnosed and later passed from cancer, to even finding out that a much younger friend has cancer. The one that really hit home for me was when my aunt Supranee was diagnosed with ovarian cancer several years ago. She ended up following a treatment regimen that brought her cancer into remission, and for a few years she was doing great. However, around Thanksgiving of 2016, she found out that it came back, this time in her lungs. By summer, she was gone. I couldn't believe it. It seemed so unfair that she beat it the first time, and that it just decided to come back and overwhelm her the second time around. This was a really sad time for my family. It was especially hard on my dad since he sought to her needs, and was the executor of her affairs.
On December 2017, I got married in Thailand, where my parents are from. It was the best day of my life. The icing on the cake was that my dad actually made the trek out there as well, in spite of not having been there since I was born (which if you check my age is quite a while). After a great week of relaxing and having fun with friends and family, we returned home. I noticed my dad was in rough shape after the trip, so we had him checked out, and he ended up being diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. I was floored. Within a 2-week time span, I experienced both the best day of my life, and the worst. I know life isn't fair, but this felt especially cruel. When you add in the fact that my dad was also my late aunt's facilitator, and that he ended up being diagnosed with the same cancer, it's a step beyond cruel and ironic. I'm not even sure there's a word for it.
My dad has always been a stoic guy, but as a family we had to deal with several sad, dark moments in 2018. But in spite of this darkness, there have been several rays of light. Thanks to some seriously good timing, as well as the diligence of his oncologist, Dr. Meghan Mooradian of MGH, my dad was put on a targeted therapy (thanks Astra Zeneca), that has yielded dividends for his health. It was a rough go at the start of 2018, but now my dad is in great shape. He is stable, virtually asymptomatic, and is living his life intently. I can only hope that his health continues to progress this way indefinitely, as newer, more effective drugs are developed.
I have spent my entire career in the biotech and pharmaceuticals space, and I have seen first hand the effort, resources, and risk necessary to tackle cancer research. I understand that cancer research is ultimately a culmination of all the successes and failures that are experienced in both private industry, academia, and non-profits. With every effort, and every dollar raised, we're inching towards a cure or at the very least more sustainable and effective forms of treatment.
So screw cancer. I'm fighting to end it, and I have nothing but "bad intentions".