The 4th of July; The Military Community and Sarcoma Awareness Month

Does this ribbon look familiar?
As we approach the 4th of July, Independence Day, Americans who serve this great nation in our armed forces face many daily challenges. Their lifestyle of sacrifice and caring for others is one great example of patriotism, a better humanity and responding to a higher calling in many ways.

Did you know that “The All Volunteer Force” celebrated its 40th anniversary on July 1st? I am just amazed at these young people and their willingness to serve under the difficult and stressful conditions after over 10 years of constant war and before that other operations not labeled “war” but military operations that still led to bullets flying.

Last year I wrote about “Sarcoma Cancer Awareness Month - The Other Yellow Ribbon” and the connection between the two yellow ribbons. The Welcome Home yellow ribbon of the military community also becomes the Sarcoma Awareness ribbon in July.  Being the family member or friend of a military member or a cancer survivor is not easy and they both need support! 

Did you know that sarcoma cancer club has fewer new members in one year than some major military installations have living on them?  But the impact on children, young people and adults alike is tremendous. This month is not just recognition for those suffering from this cancer but also those who care for them. Just like those who serve our country, the caregivers of sarcoma patients are often in a war themselves. A war against a disease that lacks research dollars due to being a smaller number of patients than diseases such as breast cancer and lung cancer.  But ... more deadly than either of those well known cancers according to American Cancer Society statistics.

July was chosen by some early to the battle, troops such as Bruce Shriver of the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative > think of them as the Special Operators of Sarcoma. They made the effort to gather intelligence, worked behind the lines and gather information about a disease that had little community awareness. Now July is an opportunity to make others aware of this illness that while impacting few has many characteristics similar to the trials of combat. It can result in loss of limbs, reduced function, emotional trials, multiple surgeries and other treatments, heavy medications, depression, family members stressed by concern for a loved one, a new normal and often death. In fact, this particular cancer has seen few improvements in care while other cancer treatments have zoomed to the top of improved care and treatments.

Sometimes we need a life changing event to become a better person, service member, spouse, parent, brother, sister, friend, etc. Recently my spouse and I had talked about how cancer had changed us. Both of us are survivors, Deborah from breast cancer and sarcoma for me. My oncologist found a new tumor in April after being cancer free for almost 3 years and I had lung surgery in May. Our God and faith had carried us through many challenges as a military family and now we were again strengthened by His love during a very difficult time. I hope you are finding strength in times of challenge.

I decided to share a great image from the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative that is for Sarcoma patients and their friends but can so fit many military family situations! Just change the question to fit your situation, such as How does it feel to deal with a year long deployment?  So let’s be more aware of Sarcoma and take care of our military friends too!
Thank you Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative

Have a great celebration of our Independence on Thursday! 

Col K and Deb

Col K is a retired Air Force pilot who served with the best of the military community from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force. He flew combat rescue and special operations helicopters, fixed wing trainers and airlift and retired while flying the C-17 as the Vice Wing Commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB. He enjoys writing about military issues and is a frequent contributor to the the DoD Blogger Roundtable at DoDLive. A member of a proud military family that created MilitaryAvenue.com to support the troops and their families, he enjoys the continued military ties from blogging.

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  1. Col K,
    My husband and I are both survivors of sarcoma and breast cancer as well. We are AF now, but my husband flew CSAR for Navy.
    We pray that you are recovering well after your recent mets. We would be very interested in meeting you to share knowledge and comfort.
    Lynn & Craig D14

  2. Good morning Lynn,

    Thank you so much for the comment and prayers! Wow, we certainly do have some unique connections. It was always very comforting to us that we had folks literally praying around the world during treatments and recovery. I am doing well after surgery and back to walking/hiking 4 miles a day (heat does slow me a bit). We would enjoy hearing from you at Dale @ MilitaryAvenue.com! Blessings for continued good health for both of you as well. Dale and Deb!

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