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Song Request for Abbey Arbs
When I was five years old, my uncle Tom and I would spend time during midday in our front porch. He would tell me stories, one of those “back in my days,” while he smokes a cigarette. I would be all ears, as I would much rather listen to his interesting stories and eat fruit snacks with him than take a nap— naps that I did not need because I was full of energy as a five years old. He was one of my bestfriends when I was young, and although the memories were a bit blurry, I still see his image and his smile. Immigrating to the United States, I hoped that one day I will be able to come back to the Philippines and see Uncle Tom again—share with him my stories because now, I am old enough and actually have stories to tell. But around 5 years in the United States, I heard a devastating news that he was suffering from Lung cancer. Not too long after hearing the news, he passed away. The opportunity to have that front porch moment again with my uncle—gone. So quick, so fast. When I heard the news, I did not know what cancer meant nor did I think it was a serious disease. I believed my uncle was strong, brave (as he has always been) and that it would probably be just as little as a tiny cold. But it wasn’t. I never understood it then, but I understand now that cancer is an enemy. Ever since I joined CAC at UCLA, Relay for Life has given me that chance—the chance to fight. To this day, I not only relay for my uncle Tom, but I also relay so that someday, cancer will no longer have the chance to take away the people we love.
This year, I joined my school's College Against Cancer and Relay for Life chapter in UCLA. We are a group of college kids who are endlessly working all throughout the school year to fight against cancer through advocacy, spreading awareness and fundraising for cancer research and early detection. We also host a 24-hour Relay for Life event that promotes cancer awareness and celebrates inspiring cancer survivors and their families. I believe that each and everyone of us is somehow touched by cancer whether it be a colleague, a friend or a loved one. I even more strongly believe that it is important to spread the word and educate people about the risks and problems associated to this disease. When I was around ten years old, I was completely oblivious to the word "cancer." I did not know what it was until it emotionally affected me and a loved one I hold dear passed away in what felt like a blink of an eye. Next thing I know, he was gone, taken away by lung cancer.
My goal is to help improve research for cancer so that no one ever has to hear "You have cancer" ever again.