By Gwen Darien
By Gwen Darien
Lately, I've forgotten what year I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The only way I can remember exactly when this life-altering event occurred is by subtracting the age I was when I was diagnosed (35), from the age I am now (48). But I'll never forget the doctor's words when he told me I had cancer, or the hospital room in which he delivered the good news/bad news cliché: "The bad news is that you have cancer; the good news is that it is highly treatable." My family's reactions are as vivid to me today as they were nearly 13 years ago. I still cry when I remember my now elderly grandmother, who has most likely forgotten I had cancer, telling me that the day she learned I had cancer was the worst day of her life.
While I'll never subscribe to the "cancer as a gift" point of view, I think of what my diagnosis has brought me: A renewed sense of purpose through my work in cancer advocacy—especially in my role as editor of two cancer magazines (the first about breast and ovarian cancer, and now CR)—and my unexpected connections to so many people whom I've come to admire in the extraordinary community of advocates, survivors, family members, scientists, physicians and other health care professionals. Cancer advocacy has taught me the power and necessity of collaborations to bring disparate voices, experiences and expertise together toward a common goal.
A magazine offers a powerful forum for collaboration. This is one of CR's most important core values. Everyone on the editorial and creative team has a deep and personal commitment to create an inclusive publication which promotes collaborations that lead to results for cancer patients and survivors. Our editorial board also embodies our mission, with an equal number of survivor advocates and physicians/scientists working together to create a magazine about people and progress in cancer.
The voice and experience of everyone who has worked on the magazine is present in this first issue. Each story had its genesis in the lively and provocative conversations that characterized our editorial board meetings. The beautiful and moving cover photograph—of 16 survivors from ages 6 to 71, who have stories as diverse as their diagnoses—came out of our brainstorming over how to convey the cross-cancer focus of the magazine. Just as our responses to a diagnosis of cancer are not universal and change over time, the photographs that accompany many of the articles convey the range of emotions and stories that make up life with cancer—warmth, community, sadness, strength and thoughtfulness.
Our goal is to connect all groups of people who are personally affected by cancer, caring for patients or working toward preventing and curing this disease. And we are committed to fulfilling our pledge to our readers. As Vince Lombardi said, "People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society." We hope you will be part of this collaboration.