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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Walk for the Cure

My daughter Spencer is doing the Susan G Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure for breast cancer, and this blog is a naked attempt to solicit support for her.

Here's the link if you wish to contribute: http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2013/WashingtonDCEvent2013?px=6521413&pg=personal&fr_id=1823

The next thing I will write may sound preposterous, but hear me out.  I believe the most human organ is not our brain, not our opposable thumb, but a woman's breast.  Surely it is the breast that makes us mammals.  We are named for that gland, not for example, the penis.  Even a praying mantis has a penis.  But the breast defines us as more than merely mammal.  The fact that human mothers feed babies from their bodies, rather than letting them fend for themselves like baby crocodiles, or even regurgitating into their mouths like baby sparrows, makes us human.  It is that essential tender bonding moment that teaches us love, which we receive quite literally with mother's milk, that gives us the inklings of compassion and joy in one another which is our finest quality.  A woman's breast makes us not merely mammalian, not merely human, but humane.

A recent trip to Philadelphia has me thinking of the founding fathers, and an account I read about John and Abigail Adams.  Their beloved daughter, named Abby after Abigail, and fondly nicknamed Nabby, had breast cancer and endured an 18th Century-style mastectomy.  I append a picture so you will have an idea of the gruesome procedure she endured, without anesthetic.  Essentially, her breast was pinched off by shears.  She died in surgery.  Excruciating torment on top of the excruciating torment she'd endured already.  And the torment of her parents.  Her loving parents.

You might recoil at this, how could a physician, a healer, do such a thing to another human being?  But I tell you, that doctor was a great man, and Nabby's horrible death was not in vain.  That was a tiny stepping stone to the cure.  Last year an actress, for whom I've had undisguised contempt, became beautiful in my eyes because of her great courage.  Her bravery was made possible in some small way by Nabby's bravery.  First diagnose.  Then learn to treat, however unsuccessfully.  And last, God willing, find the cure.

 My eyes sting even now thinking of how much John and Abigail must have loved their daughter.  And now Spencer Martin, my own lovely daughter, is walking to raise money to find that cure. I am so proud of you Spencer, and I love you so much.

Help save the most precious of all human organs.  For our mothers.  Our daughters.

Here's the link:

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