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The Ripple Effect of Cancer

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When told I would have to write an essay for the Emo Fair Queen Competition on something that I was passionate about or that was meaningful to me, I immediately thought of the many lives that have been affected by cancer. It reminded me of a quote that I once read. It said, “When someone has cancer, the whole family and everyone that loves them does too”. This quote was powerful and could not be more accurate. In 2009, my Grammy Mavis was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was only 4 years old at the time but, I was old enough to know that this was not good news. I was so worried about her. I had so many unanswered questions going through my mind. Being a kid and not understanding the medical terms was difficult and confusing. One of the hardest things that I remember about this time in my life was when my Grammy stayed in Thunder Bay at The Tamarack House so that she could get to her radiation treatments each day. It was upsetting to leave her there and be so far away from her. I was not able to be there every day to comfort her and take care of her. I am relieved to say that my Grammy is a fighter. I recall feeling so proud watching her walk The Survivor’s Victory Lap each year when my family and I participated in the Relay For Life. I am so thankful for each moment that I get to spend with her. She is outgoing and upbeat and lives life to the fullest each day. Although her cancer story had a happy ending, my Great Grandma, Marie Bates, had a much different ending to her journey. In 2010, my Great Grandma Marie was diagnosed with breast cancer. She received treatment and went on to enjoy a few good years of her life. However, by 2020, the cancer had spread to her esophagus and liver. She became quite fragile and ill. It was very difficult for me, because of Covid-19, I was not able to see her. I was not able to tell her how much she meant to me and that I loved her very much. I felt helpless as there was nothing that I could do to change the situation. I watched my Grandma Shirley make countless trips to Atikokan and Thunder Bay to take Grandma to appointments. I could see how sad and exhausted my Grandma Shirley looked each time she would return home. Sadly, on June 6, 2020, Grandma Marie passed away at the Atikokan Hospital. Cancer had claimed another beautiful soul. It had left our family behind to feel grief, sorrow and great loss. My hope for the future is that scientists will soon find a cure for this awful disease. Cancer has already claimed the lives of too many people in my family. I have family members who are currently battling cancer and others that have defeated it but, live in fear each day that it might return. If I could wish upon a falling star, I would wish for a miracle, a cure for cancer. Terry Fox said it best, “I'm not a dreamer, and I'm not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to.
Taryn McQuaker


Emo Fair Queen Contestant

Word Count: 558

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