Life moves so fast. We take so many simple things for granted. I have had the good fortune of sitting on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Police Cancer Support Group and the people who have entered my life as a result move me in ways that are hard to articulate. The lessons I have learned from them about life, about loyalty, about doing something for others, about commitment, anger, joy, fear, devotion, meaningful relationships, as well as seeing my own self-absorption, have all been powerful experiences. What I do know is that each individual member of this group has gotten an unexpected and unwelcome lesson on prioritizing life when they were diagnosed with cancer. Some members of the group, after a period of time, have identified their diagnosis as a blessing, because life’s purpose becomes very clear, very fast, others don’t see it that way. Hence, one of the benefits of a Cancer Support Group is a chance to come together and listen to many different perspectives about the disease and how members are learning to cope with it on a day to day basis in a world of seemingly upside down priorities.
The Los Angeles Police Cancer Support Group was established in mid 2005, after Sergeant Michael Apodaca, the Department Wellness Coordinator, recognized the potential benefits of bringing together a group of individuals within the law enforcement community who are living with cancer, cancer survivors, their family members and caregivers. The Los Angeles Police Cancer Support Group is more than another Department resource; it is a group of individuals who are establishing meaningful relationships by helping others gain a better understanding of the emotional impact that cancer has on them and their families. In addition, the Cancer Support Group seeks to share with the law enforcement community, through formal and informal means, the significant role that education and early detection plays in the prevention of cancer, and by doing so, they hope to lead others down a path where cancer cannot penetrate. The long standing paradox of this story is that while at the same time that members of the Cancer Support Group reach out to help others, they find a sense of richness, knowledge, and peace in their own shared experience. We look forward to meeting you and being a support to you as sometimes the road does get narrow.