Funding for No-fault Cancer

Steve McKinionUncategorized6 Comments

On a recent visit to the mall Harrison and I parked next to a car with two teenage girls smoking. Harrison remarked, as he’d been taught since just a little child, “Don’t they know smoking will give them cancer.”

I was frozen.

Harrison didn’t catch it: he had cancer. And he’s never taken a drag.

I was sick to my stomach. How do these teens choose a behavior that every knows can give them cancer while my little boy fights for his life from that very disease? Do they not know what Harrison is going through, the pain, frustration, loss, fear? Do they not realize the daily fear and pain his parents and siblings face? How could they flaunt their health as if to tell my son, “We can do what we want and YOU are the one who’ll die.”

I felt like I’ve misled my son all these years: bad behavior has bad results. He’s always been the most compliant and well-behaved kid, yet he’s the one with cancer?!

I wanted those girls to be the ones with this life-threatening disease, not my son. Selfishness had taken over.

My mind went back to something I’ve seen time and again while reading about childhood cancer: more funding goes to research “behavior-related” diseases than childhood cancer.  AIDS and adult cancers like lung cancer receive more federal funding than the disease that is threatening to kill my son. How?

My cousin Maureen’s ongoing effort to raise funds for childhood cancer. Rush Limbaugh’s annual drive to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research. Highlighting the work of St. Jude. It makes sense now.

In a week when the news is filled with demands to fund Planned Parenthood, whose 800k-plus abortions each year are demonstrated to contribute to breast cancer, I am filled with a little righteous indignation.

Perhaps if there had been one more research team, or one more clinical trial, or one more dollar for chemo research, my son wouldn’t be fighting for his life. Maybe he wouldn’t need to ask, “Am I gonna die.” Maybe he would be back to normal life as a ten year old boy playing with his friends without fear that one of them might, unwittingly, kill him with their seemingly-harmless germs.

Smoking causes cancer.

What do I tell my son about the cause of his cancer?

The closest answer I can find comes from the Bible. In John 9, Jesus and his disciples encounter a blind man. The disciples ask whether it was this man’s behavior or his father’s that caused the blindness. Jesus answered, “Neither.” In the wilderness these things happen. But God works in them for his glory. I don’t know how, but I desire the glory of God to be seen in this.


6 Comments on “Funding for No-fault Cancer”

  1. Steve, I share your pain. My son was 3 years, 9 mos old when he died from cancer in 1974. God is in control and you will get through this time. We don’t always understand why bad things happen to good people, but know that God can and will use you and your family to His glory. It is amazing how many lives were changed as a result of their knowing my son and seeing what he went through and his love for Jesus. He always had a smile, right up until the day he died. I will add you and yours to my prayer list. God bless you!

  2. Dear Brother Steve,

    I found out about Harrison through a tweet from a friend of a friend of yours the week before Christmas. I’m one of many other people who never met you or Harrison but learned about your situation through social media and have followed the news, cried tears of sorrow and joy and prayed with supplication and thanksgiving to our Father. I want you to know that the transparency with which you have shared both the facts and your feelings has been and continues to be both instructive and encouraging to us. Thank you for publicly living your faith in Jesus Christ and demonstrating your firm trust in His word. That’s how John 9:3 works and it is clear to us that God’s glory is being displayed through your family. Please keep up the tweets and blogs so we can do what we can from afar to help carry the burden your family is paying to bring so many of us the great blessing of seeing God work in this world and strengthening our hope in Jesus Christ for the next. Like your son Harrison, they are priceless to us.

  3. Hey Steve,

    I don’t know if you remember me (Traci Weston)or not, it’s been a few years. I saw this on facebook and my heart is breaking for you. My nephew had cancer when he was 8 years old, and while it wasn’t my son, I can relate to your fears and your son’s. My nephew has been cancer free now for 12 years! Praise God! Praying for you and Harrison.

  4. I agree that there should be rapid progress toward no fault cancer care for children. Your words bring further heartache regarding Harrison’s condition especially when realizing there are often many teens and adults who deliberately make bad choices and with no consequence. True- how do you survive that in your heart and explain it to him? So sad really. I’ve shared your prayer that God be glorified somehow through all this- but even more I’ve prayed for His blessing of healing and that He be given all the glory and praise for it.

  5. Steve – thanks for your insight on this. I felt something of your pain (I could never understand its fullness) and frustration as I read. I’m grateful for your willingness to ask tough questions and be transparent through this “wilderness”. And I’m grateful that your and Harrison’s faith are in the One who is Himself the only real answer. I love you my brother. Praying.

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