Today is a difficult day, the anniversary of the day we lost Max to leukemia in 1991. The pain and feeling of emptiness remain with me, as real and tangible as it was more than 30 years ago. No matter how many years pass, this pain never goes away. It still fills my soul and I am haunted by the question of why would this happen to this beautiful child.

In the past three decades, I have learned that the questioning of why would this happen to our loved ones, is universal. The pain of the loss from cancer is universal and so is the sadness of family members everywhere, no matter the country, the region, or the social situation of a family.

Today the search for an answer to that why helps explain a different why. Why do we move heaven and earth every day to reach one more patient in need of cancer treatment? Why do we need everyone’s help to remove the multiple challenges along the way? Why attempt to do what no one else has been able to do, treat advanced breast cancer in the most challenging places in the world?

The answer is simple, because we can; today, working together, we can alleviate the suffering of so many families and allow them to have more time with their loved ones and the dignity and hope we all deserve. Because children need time with their mothers, and parents need time with their children, and no one should lose a loved one from cancer knowing they could have been saved.

In memory of Max and of all those whom we lost prematurely from cancer, today please join me today in lighting a candle and pausing for a moment of reflection. Let’s turn our pain into action and renew our determination to not let cancer win because someone’s loved one couldn’t access the treatment they need. 

In heartfelt gratitude,

Pat Garcia-Gonzalez