Yesterday, the world lost a technical icon, an entrepreneurial mentor and a great human being in Steve Jobs. The news came a day after the Apple 4s announcement, and the same day as Oracle Open World. As a friend of mine said via her Facebook status, “Every single comment or status update in my stream is on Steve Jobs. RIP”.
However, Jobs’ death hit me at a personal level as well. The rare form of cancer he had suffered since 2003, pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, was the same form of cancer that took my mother from me this March. I was filled with sadness last night, as not only the world had lost a great resource, but also as the pain and emptiness of losing my mom when she was only 52 came back in a large swell. Along with this too, as I did with the news last month of Jack Layton’s death, felt anger. Anger that in a time where so much can be done, that we haven’t come close to a cure for cancer.
I understand that many people put their own money into cancer research; the LiveStrong campaigns, or Think Pink are valid examples of this. But for true advancements to be made in the battle against cancer, it requires the government, our elected officials to make this a priority and fund the research required to battle this disease. As an example, Canada’s Federal government does make funding available to cancer research, to the amount of just less than $1 Billion Canadian. However, at the same time, our military budget is between $16 and $21 Billion. Is the military budget that much more important than trying to beat the number one killer of Canadians? In the US the numbers are even greater. On average for the years 2005 through 2010, the US government funded cancer research to $4.9 Billion per year. The military? $152 Billion dollars per year.
Three people who have changed the world I live in greatly have died from cancer this year. If there is a heaven, or hell, hopefully Mr. Jobs, Mr. Layton, and my Mum can meet up (Steve can help her play solitaire, Jack can talk to her about Toronto!). But the plain and simple fact is, I will never see my Mum again. Canada does not have Jack Layton anymore. And the world has lost Steve Job’s genius, charisma and power. And I say, enough.
If we truly want to rid ourselves of Cancer, it is up to our governments to step up to the plate. Funding for cancer research needs to increase so that cures can be found, and people can stop losing loved ones. It is as simple as that. We have set on wars to protect ourselves over the past ten years. I believe it’s time to look at the terrorist within. Cancer has terrorized our society long enough, killing more people than any other disease. And I will be writing my MPP, Minister of Health and Prime Minister to tell them so. All I ask is if you agree, do the same.
I leave you with a song that makes me think of all those I have lost, such as my Mum, and my hopes that if there is an afterlife as many of them believed, that they are enjoying their run.