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People Who Care Would Do Anything

Josh and I were watching Oxygen’s House marathon even though we just purchased Season One of the series and realized that seeing everything out of order was probably going to mess us up, when we came to the episode where the woman needs a liver transplant and her girlfriend offers her part of her organ.  The catch is that the ill woman plans to leave her girlfriend, and the doctors believe that the girlfriend doesn’t know this.  It becomes an ethical dilemma, and that was all well and good, but I just used the whole situation to play my favourite game: what if.

Me: What if I needed a liver transplant, but I had just left you.

Josh: I would give you my liver.

Me: What if I had been a raging bitch while leaving you, but you had sort of turned me into a raging bitch by cheating on me.

Josh: Even if you were a raging bitch, I’d give you the liver.

Me: What if I had told you that you would never see your kids again.  You cheated on me, I left you, I told you that you’d never see your kids.

Josh: For the love, Melissa.  I’d give you my liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiver.

He really loves me.


At dinner, Josh mentioned that he read that Susan G Komen also defunded $12 million in stem cell research (I know, for the love, I’m still going on about Komen, but I’ve never liked this organization and now I can finally vent my spleen since they’ve showed their true colours.  And to think, I just thought they were wasteful in using fundraising dollars to collect more fundraising dollars vs. actually passing them along to research.)  According to a press release that is making the rounds on news sites, it is against Komen’s policy to ever fund research that utilizes human embryos.  While the researchers who were defunded weren’t using human embryonic stem cells, others in their organizations did use human stem cells.  Mother Jones has reported that Komen has not released a formal statement today on where they stand with stem cell research despite being asked by media outlets.  To me, the silence speaks volumes.

If there really is a race for the cure, if we’re attempting to sprint towards it rather than walk briskly or (based on Komen’s behaviour, crawl at a snail’s pace), I’m not sure why Komen would ever ask scientists not to utilize what doctors consider to be the most successful road to finding ways to treat cancer.  Within reason, within accepted parameters set by the medical community, isn’t Komen’s job to fund research that has potential, not to pass judgment on the ethics of that research?  Isn’t that for the advisory boards at these institutions to decide?  We’re not talking about outlying organizations; we’re talking about well-known universities, such as Johns Hopkins and Yale.  If we can’t trust Johns Hopkins and Yale to be ethical in their medical research, who can we trust?

When we really love someone, we are willing to do anything for them, such as give them part of our liver even when they’re being a raging bitch.  If Josh could do that for me on such a small scale, when it’s not even part of his mission statement, then I can’t understand how a cancer fundraising organization that the public trusts to fund projects that have the most potential to successfully bring about a cure can pull funding for stem cell research.

I am frustrated.  I have given money to Komen when friends have been racing for the cure.  Because I wanted to support my friends’ efforts, and because you’d really have to be a dick to not want a cure for every type of cancer.  Cancer is a horrific set of diseases which have struck our community too many times to count.  I don’t want a cure years from now when everyone stops fighting about this.  I want everyone to shut up now, to realize that political beliefs should never trump actual lives (and no, embryos are not actual lives.  They are potential lives, and while precious on the personal level, without implantation — which is outside of medical control — they will never become toddlers, preschoolers, teenagers).  And in this quiet, allow the medical community to put their collective heads together and actually sprint towards the finish line in this race for the cure.


1 mlo { 02.04.12 at 4:26 am }

AMEN. I live near an area where Komen had been active with a major cancer center. Rumors have been whispered for years. We will see what else won’t stand the light of day!

2 Kir { 02.04.12 at 6:15 am }

You are so right Mel, if you want to do something good in the world..you do it. I am so appalled and sickened by all the Komen news this week and mostly angry with myself for giving them so much $$$ over the years.

You always say what is in my heart and in my mind so much better than I can.

3 Queenie { 02.04.12 at 6:27 am }

The thing I love about the Komen story, though, is the public discourse. The public ROARED, and Komen was forced to take action. There is such an important lesson there in the power of the people.

4 Meghan { 02.04.12 at 8:07 am }

I have loved all of these posts. You are putting into words everything I’m thinking, but doing it far more eloquently. I became disillusioned with Komen a few years ago but now am outright disgusted. Especially that I’ve done their 3 days and raised thousands of dollars for them that I thought was going to help my aunt. And to see them squander that and not realize what it meant for me to do all of that actually makes me sick to my stomach.

5 missohkay { 02.04.12 at 8:53 am }

I’ve done Race for the Cure for the last, I don’t know, 8 years or so? Even after I started to realize that Komen wasn’t really all I hoped it would be. Now I certainly don’t want to give them any more money but when a breast cancer survivor wants you to be on their team, how could you say no? (or say, “I’d like to give my money to some other cancer org but I totally support you.”?) Hmm.

6 Sarah { 02.04.12 at 8:58 am }

Really? I just got done being frustrated with Newt Gingrich over his comments on IVF stuff.

Queenie’s comment reflects this article on the Komen fiasco: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16865529 Essentially, it was the army they created that turned against them.

7 Magpie { 02.04.12 at 9:01 am }

I love your completely justified outrage. Me too, I’m glad for this fracas because Komen has long seemed to be a bad model – the pink ribbons so twee, the fundraising for the sake of fundraising (under the veneer of awareness).

8 Magpie { 02.04.12 at 9:03 am }

PS Colour? Favourite? Are you playing at Canadian?

9 a { 02.04.12 at 9:46 am }

Why, no. We cannot trust anyone to be ethical. Are you crazy? Everyone is out to serve some evil master and corrupt the world! (In case you couldn’t tell, this is somewhat of a personal matter for me. In my work, I am required to provide more and more documentation to show someone with no training or experience my thoughts while I was making my conclusion. They can’t just pick at my qualifications and quiz me on my knowledge of things. Nope, someone must be able to totally redo my work based on my notes. Not the actual item I examined, but my notes. It’s very annoying)

10 Chickenpig { 02.06.12 at 8:22 am }

I’d give you my liiiiiiiiiver. AND I’d throw in a kidney 🙂 So there…

Komen can suck it. They can just take their pink ribbons and shove it. For G-d sake ppl, this is the United States of America, not Iran. We’re not a theocracy, we don’t need to allow our personal beliefs to govern EVERYthing. The last time I checked we were still a Democracy (well, actually a representational republic…but whatever). The majority of Americans support stem cell research, so get your religion out of our science.

Not to mention the fact that if we don’t get on the stem-cell-biotech band wagon we are going to lose millions in new jobs. Bio tech is the future, our Universities are already helping our economy move forward. We can’t afford to lose ground in this area.

11 Kate { 02.06.12 at 4:35 pm }

this guy is a satire blogger (with crazy characters) and he has a great post on the topic too; http://renalfailure.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/no-ribbon-will-protect-you-from-getting-stabbed-in-the-face/ ***Warning, he is pretty crass and crazy but I love his style anyway.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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