For years, the month of May rolled by as yet another Skin Cancer Awareness Month that perhaps gained a few moments of my attention. Until this year, my sense of “awareness” about this topic was innocently limited to the importance of wearing sunscreens (an often forgotten item) and scheduling the occasional screening exam with my dermatologist. All that changed for me in October 2015 when my physician rolled his exam room stool over to face me and proceeded to share the news that I had a large malignant melanoma on my left cheek.
Thankfully, my melanoma cancer was removed in its earliest of stages and the prognosis is very good. I am left with a three inch scar that has changed me. Although the actuaries deem me a cancer survivor, I have a difficult time including myself with others who have endured advanced cancers that are treated with much more invasive procedures than mine, including organ removals, chemotherapy and radiation. That said, once one knows that their being has been invaded by an enemy of cancer cells, it indeed alters our awareness. I feel a deep connection to anyone who has cancer, survived it or has died from this killing disease.
Being sincerely aware of something, such as a life-threatening health risk, holds the power to change our consciousness. Although at my age much of the sun damage to my body is irreversible, sunscreen application is now part of my daily ritual. I am committed to taking every precaution against the sun’s powerful UV rays and the damage that its rays can do to my body. Yet isn’t it shameful that I had to stare down cancer to elevate my awareness to the level where it stands today? My motivation to take actions that will protect me is at an all-time high. But why so late?
Sadly, I wasn’t truly “aware.” Sincere, authentic and complete awareness about certain facets in our lives requires a high degree of acceptance, vulnerability and truth seeking. In this instance, subconsciously I failed to accept the reality that death could be the consequence of not taking skin care precautions and I ignored the proven statistics that applying sunscreen reduces our skin cancer risks.
So this journey has lead me to question how can we raise humanity’s awareness related to all of our vulnerabilities? Skin cancers are one category of countless health risks that face us. In some areas, health threats have reached epidemic levels. Humanity’s obesity rates across the globe are increasing at a historical pace. The CDC predicts that at current growth projections, more than one in three people born after the year 2000 will suffer from chronic type 2 diabetes as a result of obesity. Our behaviors and actions are not merely harming ourselves. Humans have also managed to over populate and mistreat Mother Earth to levels where clean water, pure foods and fresh air are becoming precious commodities. Over 150 plants and animals are going extinct on a daily basis and many of these treasured creations held secrets to life that have now disappeared from discovery forever. Since the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by 30 percent. Our climate is changing at alarming rates. NASA reports that the Earth’s sea level rise in the last decade was double the rate compared to that of the last century. Global temperatures are increasing, especially since the 1970s. Greenland’s ice sheet decreased in mass on average 50 cubic miles between 2002 and 2006. According to the Peace Alliance, violence causes more the 1.6 million deaths worldwide. In the U.S. alone, violence containment costs are over $1.7 trillion, irrespective of the lives that violence shatters.
Permit me to ask a blunt question. Are we sincerely aware that any one of these issues are valid and real threats to humanity’s ongoing existence?
My concern is that we are not, which is why I feel called to create a new movement to further our awareness. I want to overcome my own ignorance and share new passions and knowledge with the world. Together we can break the chains that may be holding us back, regardless of how strong the links might be. As global neighbors, our wrongs can be righted with collective love, forgiveness and faith.
I welcome you to a new movement called tobe4HEALTH – #2B4H. We are about creating healthy MINDS, BODIES & SOULS which transform us into healthier BEINGS. The first step in the #2B4H movement is to embrace our awareness. Let us make time to pause and think about our own lives and the people around us. Where are our personal and communal minds, bodies and souls mentally, physically and spiritually? Are we content or unhappy? Do we feel healthy across every dimension that impacts our beings or do we not? What fills our souls? Love or hate? Having an awareness of the answers to these questions is likely propelling us in a positive or negative direction in our lives.
Life is not easy at any stage and embracing tobe4HEALTH cannot change that stark reality. What we can achieve together, however, is a community of followers and believers who become better equipped to defend against the attacks on our MINDS, BODIES, SOULS and BEINGS. With support, great knowledge and power, not only will we be able to confront events, emotions and temptations that can lure us into darkness, collectively, we can defeat the forces that attempt to tear us down.
So let’s embrace awareness and ask the hard questions that might be holding us away from greatness and peace. I am committed to helping us find the answers together within the tobe4HEALTH movement, so that together, we can make ourselves and the world a better place. #2B4H welcomes you!
Explore tobe4HEALTH.com and follow us on social media.