ACCESS kicked off its month-long online campaign to support cancer patients with “Strikes for Survivors,” a bowling fundraiser, on June 8, 2015 at Cherry Hill Lanes in Dearborn Heights. The fun, family event included bowling, pizza, games and raffles. The event raised about $2,500 with tickets and proceeds from the raffle prizes, all of which were donated by the community.
If you missed the event, don't worry! You can still make a donation to support the community’s cancer patients. SCROLL DOWN BELOW TO MAKE YOUR DONATION.
By Zana Macki, long-time activist and supporter of ACCESS
After the biopsy the doctor said, “So are you going to be picked up and be pampered with Godiva chocolates?” I sarcastically replied, “I’ll be lucky to get M & Ms.”
That was 12 years ago when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. The night before I got the dreaded phone call—“The doctor wants to see you today to go over your test results”—I had a dream. A doctor wearing a deep blue smock was basking in sunshine as he looked up, opened his hand that held a small nut and smiled at me. I woke up, quietly said “I have breast cancer” and went back to sleep.
Children wanted to know if I was going to lose my hair and my 9-year old nephew Ali wanted to carry me like a superhero. Adults wanted to know if I was going to lose my breasts. Don’t people know life is so much bigger than a breast? I called all my aunts and Uncle to tell them I had cancer. Uncle Mike said, “Thank you for telling us because it’s so hard to ask.” I only asked God that if I wasn’t going to make it, to let me live one more day than my mother.
I knew this feisty 5-footer was going to beat cancer. If I didn’t, who would tell my little nieces and nephews marshmallow stories? The treatments were harsh including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. I could hardly eat because food began tasting like aluminum foil. Altogether after chemotherapy, I had 14 shots to replenish my white blood cells. Doesn't everyone? The nurse told me I was the lucky ones because in the past some people died because there wasn't anything else that could be done. The shots made my bones stiffen up. When my hair started growing back, it first was blonde and then red. I thought: was I going to wind up looking like Lucille Ball?
Years later, I am still cancer free and free to tell my story, my way and in my own words. The truth is you’re never totally free of it. It can always come back. Moreover, it’s the lifelong psychological pain of knowing that not everyone is going to make it. I’ve lived the death of losing my sister Haji Wanda Macki to lung cancer, my best friend Helen to lung cancer, my little cousin Natalie who died of a rare form of childhood cancer and my friend Jackie to colon cancer.
Wanda use to bitterly complain, “Zana, why do people only care about breast cancer? No one cares about lung cancer.” I felt a strong sense of guilt. Did I have the “right” kind of cancer that exudes immediate empathy and support while Wanda had the cancer that people judged her for because she was a heavy smoker?
It finally hit me. I can no longer only be a cancer survivor. I am a survivor who is stepping up by telling my story to help other cancer survivors. We are the face of life and not the face of death.
Please join me in supporting ACCESS' online fundraiser to benefit newly diagnosed cancer patients and serve their needs through ACCESS and the American Cancer Society. Please donate below. Together, we can do more to help cancer survivors.