Mar. 20, 2008

Become a sponsor and pick a fight with cancer today!

I am inviting you to become our sponsor for the 2008 LIVESTRONG Challenge in Austin, Texas this october.

The LIVESTRONG Challenge is the signature fundraising initiative of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF).

Our team "Cancer Warriors" is aiming to raise at least $10.000, but we can’t do it without your help.

All sponsorships will be in form of donations directly to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and are tax-deductible within the US to the extent allowed by law. You can find all the information and sponsors' benefits/forms of recognition, by clicking here:

Sponsor Recognition

You can make a safe donation online by clicking on the "Benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation- Livestrong" Logo on the right sidebar.

If you’d like to make a donation via phone or would like to mail a check, here’s the form you need to fill out to send with your check and the phone number to call (please state the participant ID and name mentioned on the form when making a donation via phone).

How to donate by check or via phone

Thank you for your contribution and for helping us to empower cancer survivors to live life on their own terms!

Update: Chantal Sébire

Chantal Sébire was found dead in her house yesterday. Cause of death is yet to be determined.

The district attorney Allachi has already questioned her relatives and is thinking about ordering an autopsy of Chantal's body. So, even though her sufferings have ended, it seems as if her relatives will have to go through another round of questionings and painful experiences. I don't understand why they won't leave them alone to cope with the death of their mother. It's just painful to watch, even from a distance.

The French government is thinking about changing their law about PAS and create a national commission to discuss those cases. Too late for Chantal...

Mar. 17, 2008

Chantal Sébire

"An animal would not be allowed to endure what I have to endure."

If you're living in Europe, chances are you have heard about Chantal Sébire, recently. I'm well aware of the fact that euthanasia is a very difficult subject, dealing with both ethic issues and the doctor's code to save lives, but if you read about Chantal, it might make you think...

Chantal is a 52 year old mother of three and is suffering from a rare and uncurable disease (esthesioneuroblastoma) that has left her disfigured by facial tumors. I'm not going to post a picture of Chantal, but you can find her story here: The Daily Telegraph
I can't imagine that those pictures will leave anyone cold! They clearly show all her sufferings.

Those tumors that left her blind and robbed her senses of taste and smell, will also damage her brain over time and eventually kill her. Chemo and other forms of treatments did not work. Now, she appealed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy to allow her to die by euthanasia.

All she wanted was go out and celebrate with her family, then go back home and die in dignity.
However, French law does not allow for euthanasia, so it came as no surprise that her wish was declined today.

Where does that leave Chantal? Well, there might be the opportunity of passive euthanasia- being hospitalized and put into an artificial coma without being fed until she dies. Chantal objected, this form was "neither dignified, humane, or respectful of me or my children."
Instead, Sebire's lawyer says she'll either appeal, if she feels the strength to fight on, or check into a Swiss facility specializing in assisted suicide.

I can't even imagine in what kind of pain she and her family have to be- having to deal with cancer and the fact that she will die, and fighting for a way to die in peace and with her dignity intact. Chantal and her family are in my thoughts and I hope they'll have the strength to keep on fighting- wherever that might lead them.

Mar. 15, 2008

Update on Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch (You know, the professor whose Last Lecture was featured on the internet) just got out of hospital, after they had to get rid of some fluids around his lungs. Instead of getting back home and recover like most people would, he travels to Waschington, D.C. to testify before Congress and advocate better funding for pancreatic cancer.

He's a true inspiration!

Mar. 1, 2008

Special recognition

I‘ve never been one of these people who worship their idols or display the autographs of famous people they‘ve met.

For that matter, the only time I asked someone for an autograph was when I got to meet Matthew Modine, who‘s my all-time favorite actor and who I got to talk to during the Oldenburg film festival in 1997. Then I got a signed picture of Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, who I met at the Mall of America during my Wisconsin year abroad. He talked to me for about 5 minutes when everyone else just got the opportunity to get an autograph and some girls really gave me the evil eye. Funny stuff!

So, two days ago, my attitude towards signed items (or rather one special item) drastically changed. I received a huge package and couldn‘t even place it, since I didn‘t order anything. After removing tons of wrapping material, I discovered a framed and signed Newsweek issue that has the yellow band on its over. And below the magazine, there‘s a small inscription that says: „In recognition of Henrike for her outstanding commitment in the fight against cancer…“

I can‘t even say how proud and touched I am of this special recognition. All I can say is that I am incredible proud to work with such amazing and inspiring people (both cancer survivors and volunteers) all over the world and to be part of the cancer community, who always offer words of encouragement.

It‘s also incredibly motivating to keep fighting and keep kicking cancer‘s butt, even at a time when I‘m not my personal best. Just like Martin Luther King said:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King, Jr.