• A son's/father's perspective


    My name is George and I work in the Sales Department at WAXN TV64.

    What is a life-changing event to a young man? Sometimes young men don’t grasp the true meaning of a life-changing event. I believe a lot of young men think that way… it’s the way a lot of us are geared.

    As a young man, what seems like a life-changing moment can be your favorite sports team not making the playoffs or March Madness. Point is, we often tend to enjoy life for the moment particularly when we’re young, not considering what could be around the bend. 

    That was me when I was young. It was 1976 and life was good. I was in the midst of experiencing the best years of my life: college life at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. My biggest concerns were keeping my grades up and having enough beer money for the weekend. I was ”invincible and independent” in many ways and not much concerned about what might be around the corner. I had no idea my life was about to change … a slow, drastic change.

    My mother and I talked on the phone about once or twice a week and I knew she had not been feeling well for some time, but I didn’t think too much of it. She had always been strong as a horse and seldom sick. I finished classes at UT and went home for the summer, and it turned out to be a very long summer. After a lengthy battle at home, much of which I realized later that my mother had hidden from me while I was away at school, I remember the day she had surgery. I remember the doctors coming out and telling us she made it through the surgery, but shortly into it they decided to close her back up. It was too late and there was nothing they could do; cancer had permeated her body.

    Much of that summer is a blur even now … long hours at the hospital for my dad, me, and caring loved ones. But through it all, I remember my mom’s brave spirit. Seldom down (at least in my presence), she always encouraged me to get out and do things, to live life. Finally, after a long, hard-fought battle, my mother passed away from cancer in August 1977. She was only 57 years old.  During her illness, I remember one of the doctors explaining to us that her cancer likely originated as breast cancer and spread throughout her body. 

    This October, I have the privilege of participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Charlotte. I do it in memory of my mother, Emma Elizabeth Click. It seems particularly appropriate that I am walking this year. I will be 57 this year, the same age my mother was when she passed away. I was 21 when I lost my mother to this horrific disease, and now my oldest daughter, Brittany, is 21. I’m reminded of my mother every time I look at her: a tall, striking woman with beautiful green eyes and red hair. I see my mother’s grace and tender spirit in my youngest daughter, Erica.  My two daughters never had the opportunity to know their grandmother. Maybe with early detection they would have had that opportunity. My mother had two sisters that lived well into their nineties, and one still survives her today.

    We’ve come a long way in the fight against breast cancer since 1977, but there is still such a long way to go. Regular exams and early detection are so crucial in this fight and your support is paramount. While a majority of walkers are women, I encourage everyone, especially all the sons and fathers out there to take a step in this fight. Hopefully, you have not and never will experience the life-changing effects of this terrible disease, but the odds are high that you will:  mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, friend...

    There are currently 3 million people living with breast cancer in the U.S. and of those 3 million, 1/3rd of the population, or one million folks, are undiagnosed.

    My participation in the Avon Walk is about raising funds to help in the fight to eradicate this horrible disease and to provide early detection for those who otherwise may not be able to provide it for themselves.   

    Just $150 can help an uninsured woman get a mammogram.

    I hope you can walk with me October 26 and 27, but if you can’t, I hope you will support me in this fight. My goal is to raise $1,800 (not necessarily easy, but very doable). Please donate to my fundraising effort! The money raised during the Charlotte Walk stays local and serves the Charlotte community. Visit AvonWalk.org to find out the many ways you can get involved. Thank you...from a son and father whose life was forever changed by breast cancer!