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Review for The Oral Cancer Foundation, Newport Beach, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

In 2006 at age 50, my life was a freight train; roaring forward, very fulfilling & busy. I was 50, felt like I was 30, worked like I was 20. Then, my freight-train life ran head-long into a brick wall.

The "toothache" I'd sought treatment for was stage IV cancer in my jaw. Aggressive, very poor prognosis, and treatment, if successful, would be life-changing. Disfiguring, horrible suffering during treatment, with only slim chances of survival for more than a year or two afterwards.

I've always been a cautious optimist, but there seemed to be very little to be optimistic about. Very low survival rates, horrific treatment modalities, nothing about it sounded in any way appealing. Did I really want to go through that? Was there any POINT in going through that if all that would happen is a short extention of my life, filled with even more misery? I knew next to nothing about oral cancer, and I was terrified.

I knew I had to get to know my adversary, intimately, if I was going to fight. It didn't take long before I stumbled across what would become an integral, important, engaging source of understanding, advice & enormous compassion & encourgement; the Oral Cancer Foundation.

From the first moments, I became part of the OCF "family", and they became a part of mine. Within hours, I was talking to people about my deepest fears and feelings; total strangers earlier, and now close confidants.

It's been said that the only person who TRULY understands what a cancer patient goes through is another cancer patient. Even more important, if that other cancer patient suffers(ed) from the same type of cancer.

The OCF gave me the most important part of the "survival equation", and the part that was missing; the OCF gave me HOPE. I learned and came to appreciate that even with the odds stacked very much against me, many others had travelled that same road, and come out the other side, intact and able to live life.

The year that followed was horrific. Surgery...17 hours worth...a heart attack, a coma for two weeks. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy for months. sicker than I'd ever been in my entire life. Then physiotherapy, speech therapy, scans, tests, ad nauseum. Through it all, my "family" with the OCF was there for me every step of the way. Offering suggestions, encouragement, empathy. Strategies on overcoming some of the difficulties I had. There too, when one of our "family" lost their battle. We grieved together, we celebrated together...we were, and are "family". Some of my closest friends in the world are people I've met through OCF.

The Oral Cancer Foundation is a modest group of people helping one another deal with a common enemy. Together immeasurably stronger than each person indivudually. Their good work continues, and the demands increase, year after year. This organization has participated and played a hugely significant role in improving the survival rates for Oral Cancer around the world. I can think of no more worthy a cause than this.

Role:  General Member of the Public