There hasn’t been a word that cuts me deeper this year than “cancer.” That’s because Lymphoma killed Brandon Harris, a dear friend of mine, last month. He’d been diagnosed for about a year and lived to see 30. Yet the chronic disease mercilessly snatched the life out of a truly kind person who supported anyone in his circle.
Everything about Brandon’s demise feels unfair. Time heals although there’s no way I can forget him. Acceptance has been the worst realization since I’ll never know why he had to die. Moments of clarity help me cope, though. Thankfully, Stuart Scott’s Jimmy V Perseverance Award acceptance speech during Wednesday night’s ESPY’s instilled a perspective everyone must witness.
Stuart Scott’s ongoing campaign with cancer has notched a few evident victories on him. Chemotherapy hacked at his once stocky build. The disorder’s made life difficult for his loved ones as he’s needed regular and immediate care. He even revealed a recent crash nearly took him out in the week leading to the ESPY’s. Let’s not forget he’s been at war for seven years and it appears this disease has all but destroyed him.
Yet he’s still here thriving on his accord and inspiring others to persevere akin to Jimmy V. Scott’s made great points on how a firm support system helps everyone confront cancer: not just the victim. His following stance on living with the malady rang truest for me.
“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the matter of which you live. So live, live, fight like hell and when you get too tired to fight, then lay down, rest and let somebody else fight for you.”
Brandon had a similar resolve even in his last days. He’d go in and out but never lost his zeal to survive. I remember talking to him on the phone after a hospital visit. Brandon mentioned his wife and he would through a big dinner once they fended off his Lymphoma for good. The odds fell out of Brandon’s favor by then but he didn’t care; he wasn’t the type to sulk so why start now? Everyone wanted him to win and that gave enough inspiration for us to maintain hope.
The aforementioned conversation stood as our last and, until Stuart’s speech, the talk’s always been linked with tragedy along with his death. Now it’s an example how to be when the road ahead looks grim.
Stuart’s language delivers most chilling aspect about his speech. These are the words of a man who knows he can check out at any moment. The reality of his situation hasn’t stopped him from being active, still doing Sportscenter when fit and serving as a testament to not let it define him. His actions don’t stop at lifting spirits during an award show. They ought to put the listener’s issues in check and influence him or her to see them through.
Cancer’s many forms can kill those afflicted with it plus make life painful for loved ones. Nonetheless, those linked to it shouldn’t let it beat them or make that loss of life only hurt. Scott’s speech give me insight on his will and I’ve gained a much greater respect for him.
Stuart Scott helped solidify my memory of Brandon as a fighter and a man of conviction. Most importantly, Scott’s living proof that living on one’s own terms yields valuable means to deal with such an ugly disease. That’s inspirational to anyone associated with cancer and, even in potential loss, conjures relief in an utterly depressing situation.
Thank you, Stuart Scott.