Telling the stories of those fighting cancer

On Friday, we are going to bring you the stories of some remarkable people. They are everyday people — patients, doctors, nurses, caregivers and family members who all have battled cancer.

For some, the fight is essentially over, and it appears they have beaten the disease in its various forms. For others, the struggle continues. But all of them were willing to have their stories told because they felt they had a message to share.

While that message took different forms, in essence they all said: Embrace life. Don’t give up hope. Be proactive. Fight the beast with all your strength. And don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help.

Among the people profiled in our annual Brave Hearts supplement is a Franklin woman who battles to keep cancer at bay, even if she can’t whip it completely. Her philosophy is simple: “I’m a fighter.” One of her allies is a stray dog she adopted several years ago that refuses to let her lay about the house.

You’ll also meet a Greenwood couple who both battled cancer at the same time.

In other stories you will read about advances in technology that give doctors new tools to battle this scourge, a battle doctors and nurses take every bit as personally as their patients.

Perhaps the most poignant story is the very first, a letter to you from the father of a young leukemia patient. The heartfelt account is certain to tug at your heart.

In the past, the section focused on breast cancer, but last year we expanded it to include any form of cancer, not because we think breast cancer has become less important. Rather, we want to let you, our readers, know of other types of cancer that lurk out there and tell the stories of other patients and their sorrows and triumphs.

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 44 percent of men and 38 percent of women will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. For men, the most likely type is prostate cancer. For women, it’s breast cancer. But cancer can hit every part of the body.

We hope that by offering up the stories of local men and women battling cancer that you will be inspired to get checked for cancer on a regular basis and, if you are diagnosed, that you will fight it the way our Brave Hearts subjects have.

At issue

Cancer will affect nearly all of us, either as a patient, caregiver, medical professional or friend.

Our point

The overriding message from profiles of cancer patients is to never give up hope, keep struggling and be willing to accept help.