Tuesday, February 28, 2012


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - Words matter. I always listen – very, very carefully to every doctor and researcher I ever hear. There are a few key things I like to hear, but sometimes it’s not what they say out loud that matters. 

Recently, a group of us went to the IU Simon Cancer Center to hear from some docs that are in the world of cutting edge science. Just an update to see where the world is right now with cancer treatment and research, and all of the exciting things they are doing to help. It was amazing! There will be a great posting soon on verabradley.org, so please keep checking back to see that.

As I was leaving the lab tours, I saw the note above on a refrigerator. I took a photo and put it up right away on my personal facebook wall, just because it was so.wonderfully.inspirational. It boosted me, made me smile, made me want to hug them all. Then, when I got home and checked facebook that night, I learned that so many people felt the same. It was shared, reposted, commented upon, etc. All comments were the same basic message; "we LOVE to see this." 

Sometimes is just the little comments that give us the energy to keep going. To keep taking our medicines, to keep raising funds, to keep lending helping hands. We do it daily, and not because of the big, grandiose statements but because of the little true words that exist in the hearts of those we trust the most. Go, go cancer research!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


YOSEMITE, CALIFORNIA - My friend and co-worker Brett climbs rocks. Not for a living, but for "fun". He and I must own different copies of the dictionary, because that's not my entry under "fun". He told me once about people who sleep in tents hanging from the sides of mountains. Again, "fun".

Several years ago, Brett and I were working on a project and I asked him how on earth he can do that. How he can look right at a steep climb and find the courage to scale it. He said, simply; "I just start climbing. I stop when I get to the top." (He's one of those cool yet totally understated kind of guys.)

It fits though. To so many situations in our lives, if we knew what we were up against and how tough it would be, we might not ever start. I've spoken with hundreds of cancer patients and their families about the journey they face. They are all afraid, all intimidated by the challenge ahead. The same thing applies to any hardship you might face, but it's simple and it's true. And I repeat Brett's words almost every day.

"Just start climbing."

Hang in there, fellow courage seekers. You can make this climb!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


CAIRO, EGYPT -  Oh my goodness, I thought I was old. (Ha!). Scientists have found a mummy in Egypt that has evidence of cancer. He is 2,200 years old!!! This puts it all into perspective, doesn’t it? 

One of the questions I’m asked quite frequently is "Where ARE we in cancer research – why don’t we have a cure yet?" I find this question baffling, but mostly because I’m not a researcher. That’s like asking Ronald McDonald why the fries take so long to cook; he’s just the guy out front with the funny shoes. He can’t possibly answer such a tricky question!

My answer comes from one of my brilliant docs, and I use it constantly. (Tip: always turn to your genius friends if you need answers. Don’t pretend to know something you don’t come close to understanding.:) He says that this disease has been with us for millennia. Only in the past few decades have we actually found a way to begin the battle.

Chemotherapy didn’t even exist until the 1940’s, did you know that? And the two guys who started it actually worked for the Department of Defense – working on chemical warfare! You never know where the answers for treatment will arise, how it will help, or how long it might take. I suspect that the same answer works for "the cure". All I know is that in the history of all human existence, I am grateful for the last 70+ years of advancements in treatment and research. It’s because of those advancements that I am here to write this little bloggie blog. 

Go go cancer research!

Monday, February 13, 2012


FORT WAYNE, INDIANA - This is my friend, Edie. I met her through work, and she was a blessing to everyone who met her. Cancer has taken her from us, like so many others. 

There wasn’t one thing I could do to stop her from passing. But much like our fellow co-workers, we could lend her comfort and support by just going to tell her we loved her. 

Sometimes that’s all you can do. But don’t let that stop you from doing it, please. Go hold a hand.Whisper a prayer, give a hug, talk to the family, tuck in a blanket, look into her eyes. Just go out there and be nice to someone today, someone that really needs it. It will be just as good for your heart as it is theirs. 

We will all miss you, Edie.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


WORLDWIDE - So you know that cancer cells don’t die, right? They have this  immortal zombie/vampire thing going on, and it makes me crazy. Luckily, we have about 20 ‘how to defeat immortals’ television shows happening so we know to stock up on water and supplies. 

The big news at a recent meeting of cancer researchers called ASCO is that there are little tiny caps on the ends on the tops of cancer cells called "telomeres". Those caps are the reason the cells live forever, the researchers tell us. The researchers are now trying to find a way to make the telomeres not fit. Be too short for the cell, therefore it will die a natural death like the rest of our cells.

I, personally, was pretty happy to hear about this research. As a cancer patient, it’s really unnerving to know that I’ve got cells wearing shoes that look like this picture running around my system. Blech. 
(Come on, you didn’t think I was going to put up a photo of a really scary zombie and not shoes, right? This is a family friendly blog!)

Go go cancer research!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


USA - She was a cancer blogger. NO that doesn’t mean what you think it means. She didn’t wallow in self-pity, she never demanded we wear one color or another to represent anything, and she almost always made me smile. I knew more about what her dog rolled in that day than I did about her scars and pain. She was honest and sage, sassy and bright. Her husband’s name, to the best of my knowledge, is "beloved". That’s what she called him – now, how dear is that? Her oncologist? "Dr. Cuteness". She didn’t have hair, but wore cool hats to camouflage. She only had one hand that worked well, but she did what everyone should try to do:

She reached out to everyone with the other.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012


INDIANAPOLIS - In just a few days, there will be a really big football game happening here in Indy. Big people will come and have big parties, and the whole state is welcoming our visitors with big, open arms. What a tremendous opportunity for all of us!

The best part is that the people organizing the big stuff are also focusing on some small stuff. Small like little bitty cancer cells, to be specific.

This is my sweet friend, Clare. She's in the midst of her cancer treatment, but is just as strong and pretty as ever. Clare is one of many cancer patients here in Indiana. One of our group that owes so much to our wonderful doctors. Our researchers. Our donors.

Clare - and the rest of us in this crazy cancer world - are so thankful that the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL, the NY Giants, the New England Patriots and the entire Super Bowl committee have stopped to remember us in the midst of their work. They have decided that they are not too busy to help others.

To me, that defines Super.