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Mother of the Year Award

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Hey all you awesome Semi-colons!

This letter is in response to ACS awarding Sarah Ferguson the Mother of the Year Award and some comments the Duchess made that pushed some buttons but could be construed as rather innocuous in regards to cancer and health. IMO they were either arrogant or ignorant; and neither have a place in cancer education IMO. Now, it could be that they were taken out of context since the article was not very long, but it gives the ACS a dubious distinction. Personally, I am disappointed in the choice....

To Jose, Dana, and Greta,

What a bruhaha going on. It's been a royal ruckus to be sure. And rightly so since Mothers are sacred and not to be taken lightly. Same with cancer. So imagine our collective disappointment when someone with no obvious ties to a personal journey with cancer is to be our ACS Award Winner.

I am not about to judge the Duchess of York's mothering or her health and weight issues, questionable as they may seem, but I do wonder how this honor bestowed upon her came about in the first place. Can you please give me a list of past Mother of the Year Award recipients? Perhaps there is a pattern or agenda of which I am not familiar.

I would suggest that future Mother of the Year Award recipients actually have a personal relationship with cancer and not just an empty celebrity status and who may not have the best character track record representing an enormous and growing community of survivors and their families. Consider that the majority of us do not have access to opulent resources for survival, but spend a good part of the day, weeks, years, supporting ACS and each other. They are my personal heroes.

It saddens me that ACS stoops to celebrity notoriety to promote their/our cause. When it is WE who are actually in the trenches daily living with cancer in humility and humbleness, and many in fear, and where there is no room for arrogant assumptions. I know from whence I speak. I assumed I was vaccinated from cancer by my exercise and healthful eating. I had not ingested "soda pop" for over 20 years when I was diagnosed nor did I eat junk food. And yet, I still got colon cancer. While I agree wholeheartedly that diet and lifestyle can contribute to getting cancer and therefore is of utmost importance in the healing of it also, I hesitate to look to someone like Fergie as the Poster Child, I mean, Mother, to represent ACS.

I hope ACS reconsiders in the future and actually thinks about all of those who walk the Relays raising the money with their actions, who suffer the chemo that ravages their bodies, who nurse our babies in hope that cancer will not return and snatch us from them, who walk the hospital halls with parts of our bodies missing trying to cope with our diagnoses and prognoses, who offer comfort to our companions while they tearfully struggle with the nightmarish prospect of losing a partner, who lay in bed healing while little ones adjust to having mommy sick for days on end, who venture out with wigs or scarves braving the stares and questioning eyes filled with pity, who get up and go off to work to help pay the bills after having their chemo infusions. Those are the Mothers of the Year that ACS should be honoring whenever and wherever possible.

ACS has missed its chance. For shame.

peace, emily who is mother to five, Stage III colon cancer survivor for 5 1/2 years living it daily among other women/mothers who live it daily too.

JADot's picture
JADot
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

I sent the following message to ACS yesterday. If you find the Fergie choice appaling, add your voice to the discussion!

**********************************
As a cancer survivor, I am writing to express my disappointment at your poor choice of Sarah Ferguson
as the Mother of the Year and a spokesperson for the ACS.

Sarah Ferguson's record as a mother leaves much to be desired. That aside, I ask you to explain to me
the criteria you used to choose her, and who made up of the committee of people who voted for her?

What qualified Sarah Ferguson? I can think of so many extraordinary mothers with no effort. What about
Lance Armstrong's mother Linda who raised a hero? What about my friend who is fighting recurrent breast
cancer, raising a child, and still pursuing a nursing career to help heal others? What about Katie Couric, or
our very own Emily, Lisas, Stacy, or Kerry?

Sarah Ferguson is also an appalling, inarticulate spokesperson for the ACS. The public deserves far more.
In her interview, she sprinkled the word cancer in a weight-watcher message, at one point claiming “There are
more cancer deaths from sedentary life style and poor nutrition in America than smoking and anything else. ”
Read it twice and tell me exactly what it means! Did she ad lib this or did she bungle a real message given
to her by the ACS?

Life style and diet being main reasons for cancer in Americans - did she get this insight from the ACS?
Following that logic, then Lance Armstrong would have never had cancer. He was the Junior World Champion
cyclist, a tri-athlete, and a pro-cyclist before cancer. The whole truth on cancer is far more complicated,
and the public is ill-served by her muddled message. This is unacceptable from the ACS spokesperson.
She should have known that the same genetic mechanism that gave her red hair gives some of us cancer?

Sarah Ferguson is an appalling choice for the ACS. The ACS owes cancer patients, survivors and their
mothers a correction on her statements.

Ying Dillaha
Cancer Survivor

scouty's picture
scouty
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

Well said Emily and Ying!!!!!

I too sent a message to ACS earlier in the week. I am embarrassed and can not understand why or how ACS could be so careless with the appointment. What were they thinking???? I am appalled and below is my email to ACS.

Shame on you for embarrassing all of us cancer survivors for naming Fergie your "Mother of the Year".

I don't understand the mother connection since she doesn't even live in the same country as her children and is a terrible role model for loyal, loving, loved, and devoted mothers/wives. I also have no clue of any cancer connection she may have. Her "speech" on the internet is disturbing with it's message to say the least given her struggle with weight and all her other imperfections. How dare she lecture me on how to live my life or how to be a good mother.

I can't believe you could not find a more worthy mother. Next year, contact me, I know several from your own Cancer Survivor Network boards. They are real people, living real lives, and helping real people. They are not rich and spoiled puppets begging for attention.

Lisa Poole
Stage IV rectal cancer survivor

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JADot's picture
JADot
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Beverly,

You nailed it. I was first extremely put off by her snootiness - "I don't want to have cancer. I don't want my children to have cancer". Does she think people get cancer coz they wanted it? How thoughtless and insensitive is that?

Blame the victim, that came right through. If you listen to her you certainly get the feeling that she thinks all cancer victims are a bunch of pops drinking, junk-food eating, couch-potatoeing people without a good Mom who does yoga, pilate and run.

I would shrug all this off as plain ignorance if she is not a anointed spokesperson for the ACS. This leads to my original point - she is a bad choice as a spokesperson for the ACS.

Thanks for your post babs!

Cheers,
Ying

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

hi babs,

yes like my mother who buried her 33 year old daughter who was diagnosed in her 20's (after years of misdiagnoses). My sister died of cancer 5 months after giving birth. She carried a baby to almost full term (and then nursed her for 6 weeks until another round of chemo) knowing full well that she was "terminal".

Now THERE'S a mother for you. Either one of them. My mother or my sister.

peace, emily

JADot's picture
JADot
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

For those of you who are wondering what we are talking about, please watch this video at:

"
Sarah, the Duchess of York, has been named Mother of the Year by the American Cancer Society.

http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=2848292

"

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2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Amen!

peace, emily

JADot's picture
JADot
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Oh Beverly,

The story of your BLW's mother brought tears to my eyes. It also reminded me a friend of mine's sister-in-law. She declined cancer treatment to save her unborn baby, couldn't at the end carry the baby to term. She had an emergency sesarean, and died a week later. She did save her baby, who's 9 or 10 now and thriving.

Damn this cancer beast!

Ying

katefm's picture
katefm
Posts: 112
Joined: Oct 2006

Emily-

Thank you for sending such a well-written, articulate letter to the ACS. You are right on the money - why not feature a real hero?

I'll be writing a letter myself - although I'm not a cancer survivor, I am the caretaker for my Stage IV husband, a 3 year old and an 8 month old. I'd like to see Sarah Ferguson take care of a sick spouse and two young children without the help of a nanny and an indiscriminate amount of money. On top of that she needs to be eating healthy and exercising every day without the help of a personal trainer or a Weight Watchers coach. After all, she wouldn't want to "catch" cancer or have her girls get it. If cancer was based on lifestyle, she would have had colon cancer back when she was married.

Kate

Monicaemilia's picture
Monicaemilia
Posts: 455
Joined: Nov 2006

You have all said it very well. I'm upset that the American Cancer Society (even though I'm Canadian, I'm still upset) is treating this disease like a weight watchers commercial that needs a famous spokesperson/model. It trivializes what to so many millions of people, and their families, is a life altering disease in so very many ways. And I throw in my mother as a candidate, who took a year off work (and unable to afford doing so) the day after my dx so that she could take care me and my newborn son. I certainly hope this decision gets re-thought. Monica

finner
Posts: 232
Joined: Jan 2005

I have just watched the video and am speechless. Have any of you who expressed your opinions to ACS had any feedback, and what is the mother thing anyway. It reminds me of the breast cancer thing, no disrecpect, sometimes I get into trouble for not thinking, and all of the publicty and funding that gets. but still why the gender thing in the first place. Is there a father of the year award, singleton, maybe?

JADot's picture
JADot
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Finner,

In your post you asked if any of us wrote ACS about our disagreement with the choice of Fergie as MOY - yes we did, 5-6 of us email them. We got form responses but nothing specific yet. Given that ACS is a billion-dollar a year organization, I think it'll be a long time before they get around to answering us.

I love your idea of a FOY and SOY, especially the SOY :)

If you're upset about this, let your voice be heard by writing the ACS at http://www.cancer.org/asp/contactUs/cus_global.asp.

Thanks for your post!
Cheers,
Ying

foxy
Posts: 190
Joined: Oct 2005

Hi, I just wish you all could live one day as a British Royal.

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