Timothy James Richardson, my uncle, passed away on Sept. 9, 2016 following a long, 15-month battle with cancer. He was 63 years old.
My grandparents raised me, and when I was 16, my uncle came to live with us. Until then, I knew him as Uncle Timmy the doctor—kind of stiff, kind of stern. Over the next two years, I got to know Tim better. I learned about his passion for Steely Dan and The Allman Brothers. I learned about his time in the military. I learned we shared a love of Vonnegut. And I learned that all the guitars in his room weren’t just for show. After that, I always knew him as Tim.
Tim and I became close. I just didn’t realize it until now.
Promo Marketing used to run an annual feature about awareness causes, typically focusing on cancer fundraisers. This story often was published in October to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness month. Interest in the topic among readers and advertisers—and, to be honest, writers—was low, and more popular stories took its place. The last awareness feature appeared in 2007.
Everyone knows cancer is an awful disease, but many people aren’t aware of just how horrible it is. Until this summer I was the same way, having no understanding of what the condition does to a person or what it does to the patient’s family. Today, I am aware.
In honor of Tim, and for anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer, below are a number of nonprofit organizations where you can get involved:
- American Cancer Society
- Breast Cancer Research Foundation
- Cancer Research Institute
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
- Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
- Prevent Cancer Foundation
- Prostate Cancer Foundation
Consider yourself aware.