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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reasons for writing, the past, and the future. A very personal (and long) post.

We all have our reasons for doing what we do.  I write because I pretty much feel I have to.  And I want to- I love writing, it fulfills me.

Having an overactive imagination is a blessing more than a curse.  Of course, sometimes it means sleepless nights after reading or watching something scary, convinced that the noise I heard was not just the ice machine, but was in fact a ravenous zombie, risen from his grave just to have a bite of my flesh.  Overall, though, having an overactive imagination (along with tons of reading, and many classes, both in writing and in acting, but more on that later) means I'm constantly getting new ideas for stories, and I want to share them with others who may find them interesting.  Most of the time, nothing more than a note about the thought comes from my ideas, but I write all of them down in case I want to develop them in the future.

But anyway, I do have specific reasons why I hope to make a good living and then some off of my writing.  For one, what a dream it would be to be able to make an income off of a passion, instead of having to work a "regular" job (which I suck at, but more on that later, too).  Second, I want to be able to help others.  It would be nice if I didn't have to worry whether or not I can pay my bills this month, but I would more so love to be able to do the same for my family.  It would be great to be able to help siblings buy a house for their growing families, or help with unpaid medical bills, or even just use the money to help alleviate some of the every-day stress of life.  And of course, I really want to spoil my nieces, nephews, and my own future children with awesome trips and substantial college funds.  ;)

Another reason I hope to make decent money is so that I can use it for the causes I feel are important.  I have fantasized as long as I can remember about writing a check for $1,000,000 to the American Cancer Society(I could write the check now, but it would bounce pretty high.)

The reason I want to make a donation to the ACS specifically is because cancer is something that has greatly affected my family.  We lost my Grandma Sylvia (maternal grandmother) to cancer back in 1997, and I miss her dearly, especially since I was too young to really know her as more than just grandma.  My Grandpa Bob (maternal grandfather) seems to always be getting some skin cancer removed.  My Grandpa Dick (paternal step-grandfather, who's always been more like a grandfather than my actual paternal grandfather, whom I haven't heard from in a decade) was diagnosed with throat cancer (kids, this is why smoking is bad) and my Grandma Millie (husband's maternal grandmother, whom is definitely one of my favorite people in the world) was diagnosed with cancer in several spots.  At one point, all three of the surviving aforementioned grandparents had cancer at the same time.  It hasn't always been easy, especially since we live so far away from two of them (Grandpa Dick is in AZ, Grandma Millie is in TX), but all three of them have kept positive spirits and good, strong faith.

Back in 2005, a friend of mine from theatre, Sam, passed away after a tough battle with cancer.  He was only 17, and one of those people you knew would've changed the world if he had been given a chance.  Even in just a short life, he affected so many people in such a powerful way.

I am a survivor myself.  When I was six years old, I was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer called germination cell cancer (sometimes also called stem cell cancer).  Doctors said that it only affects children, and on average only three children are diagnosed each year in the entire nation.  Of those three, usually only one survives more than a year.  This makes me, quite literally, one in a billion.  I'm 18 years cancer-free now, but there have been lasting long-term effects.  (For example, odds are that I will never be able to conceive my own children.  Odds will be improved with medical assistance, but still not a guarantee that it will happen.)  Now that I'm old enough to actually understand a lot of the medical side of the experience, I can't get any information- there's no sources on the Internet about it (probably because it is so rare of a diagnosis).  I emailed my main pediatrician a year ago, asking if there was a way I could get copies of the studies they did on me (the chemotherapy I underwent was experimental at the time- it's now commonly used and very successful, but since it wasn't FDA approved when I was treated, I am not allowed to ever donate blood or organs to another person, which makes me sad because if it weren't for blood donations, I would not have survived the surgery to remove the final bits of the tumor), but he replied back and said that most were lost in a fire that destroyed the storage building.

On a side note, though my experience, I have found it was far easier to be the cancer patient than to be the loved one of a cancer patient.  I think that is probably because when you're the patient, you feel like you have control, but when you're the loved one of a patient, you don't feel you have any control.  All you can do it support them and pray for the best outcome.

So there you have it, in a nutshell (well, a very long nutshell), my family's history with cancer.  I plan to write a memoir about it later this year (probably over the summer, after I finish a couple other projects, including a prequel to The Secret Room, which is available now for just $0.99) with details and the funny stories that accompanied the experiences (because there were good times in the bad).  I plan to donate a percentage of the profits to the ASC.  I know that the past can't be changed, but if a cure can be found, then maybe others will not have to endure the loss and hardships that my family and others have had to face.

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