Friday, February 15, 2013

Cancer strikes out another friend. It is time to appreciate those around us while rallying for a cure

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

This week saw the passing of yet another friend from my youth.

Doug Fuge was a 1979 graduate of Miami East and a friend for many years. His death, like so many others, was due to cancer.

I lost my father to cancer in 1985 and, since that time, have watched so many others fight that dreaded disease that it makes me nearly physically ill to think about it.

I guess that the good news is that it seems that more and more people do seem to overcome and win the fight. Unfortunately, that number is not high enough.

My dad was a carpenter. I believe that his decades of working around and with asbestos and a hundred other chemicals probably contributed to his contracting the disease. My uncle, Bernie, who worked side-by-side with my dad for all those years, also died of cancer some years later.

In recent months, many of us have been involved in benefits for local friends, and children of friends, who are engaged in the fight of their lives, at too young an age. I see more and more how unfair cancer is.

So, I find myself asking, what is really being done about this disease?

I am sure that research companies are, and have been for years, in high-gear, working to come up with a cure for cancer of all types.

The proclivity of this disease makes me wonder its origin and cause. There is no doubt that we live in a toxic world.

Seeming innocuous items that people like my father worked with for years ... fiberglass insulation, various adhesives, asbestos siding, to name just a few, were later discovered to contain highly-toxic substances that can lead to cancer. But, who knew?

Today, anyone working around and with many of those items dresses in protective gear, including respirator devices in some cases, to avoid inhaling fumes and dust particles.

We are living in a world of toxins that we created. We spent decades creating and building things that we now have to find a way to get rid of — safely.

The foods that we eat are also subject to scrutiny. Chemicals that we designed to make one tomato larger and more juicy, have succeeded in making that one tomato larger, juicier and potentially toxic to eat.

I have always been fascinated by diet soft drinks. Even at a young age, it didn't take much to figure out that real sugar was less of a danger than artificial sweeteners.

Perhaps my fascination was more with people who consume those carbonated Molotov Cocktails. If you are really dieting, stop drinking soft drinks totally.

My trip to the Upper Valley Career Center and Willowbrook facility on Thursday was food for thought. I watched as one of nature's most natural products, sap, flowed from Maple trees and was harvested to create Pure Maple syrup. Nature has provided us with substances such as Maple syrup and honey, along with hundreds of other sources of food. And then we humans have to "improve" upon nature by altering, tweaking and preserving to the point where we are — poisoning ourselves.

As our doctors and scientists race to find a cure for cancer, a cure that I pray will come quickly, we need to step back and take a look at what we eat. We need to stop and think about the environment in which we live, work and play.

It is indeed a scary world in which we live today.

In spite of all of the dangers that lie in wait for us, we still need to live each day to the fullest. Enjoy, appreciate and love those around you.

We never know how much time we have to spend those we care about.

So long, Doug. If God has a baseball team, I am sure you will be in the lineup in time for spring training.

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