Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ride To Conquer Cancer


That's a picture of my friend Nanci with her first two wheeler. She is taking part in the Ride To Conquer Cancer. The participants are riding some 200 km from Toronto to Niagara Falls in order to raise money for the Princess Margaret Hospital. I'll be making my donation using this handy form. It has been almost ten years since I lost my mom to cancer and very few of us will make it through life without one of our loved ones or ourselves being impacted by the ravaging effects of this disease. If you can spare a little, please give, every little bit helps.

I've fiddled the date to leave this up top for a bit.

UPDATE:

This link will allow you to opt for a general donation or to search for one of the participants or teams. Once you decide how and for whom you wish to donate you can click on one of the levels of donation.



That takes you to a page where you can specify an online donation through credit card. Hope that makes things easier for our readers to step up and help. Cheers and thanks in advance.

17 comments:

jj said...

Yay! Good for her. I will donate later this week (as soon as Visa forgives my past sins).

pretty shaved ape said...

thanks jj! you are a rockstah.

CC said...

For convenience, that ride should arrange a website where people could go, select the rider they want to sponsor, and make their pledge online. I'm betting that would increase their take noticeably.

pretty shaved ape said...

actually that is a feature of the site, i didn't find it straight off as the design is a little suspect. i'll update.

Red Tory said...

Not to poop on a “good cause” or anything, but what do you think about the notion of what some regard as the “cancer industry” that feeds off various manifestations of this disease and has little sincere interest in discovering an actual “cure” given that such a thing would be a calamitous event, effectively terminating their whole reason for existence. I know that sounds kind of kooky and conspiratorial, but there’s kind of an irresistible logic to the idea of it being a sort of self-perpetrating scam.

Just for the record, both my parents died of cancer, or at least, forms of that disease rapidly hastened their deaths. I couldn’t help but be struck with some appalled disgust by the relative indifference and incompetence of the healthcare system in the handling (or mishandling) of their cases. Because they were relatively old, the attitude seemed to be that it was a fait accompli and not worth bothering about beyond offering some palliative narcotics. So, I just wonder if, beyond prevention, early detection (and the obvious treatments at that point), there’s really much more that can be accomplished by this line of research.

pretty shaved ape said...

not an uncommon line of thought red. i'll go with the hope that there are still some sincere professionals whose goals are greater than a permanent paycheck. i am willing to believe that the front line researchers are sincere. corporate pharmaceutical behemoths, not so much. the folks in the hospital and hospice system that worked with my mom were uniformly wonderful, compassionate people. if some of the money raised goes to others like them, then it is all good.

Red Tory said...

I can't but help wonder as to the point of it all. I don’t mean that in a glib of flippant sense, by the way, but sincerely in the sense of fundamentally questioning the received wisdom of such curative crusades. To me, cancer is just another form of entropy that’s as perfectly natural as the birds in the trees. Attempts to “conquer” it or other such modes of physical dissolution seem like quixotic ventures to defy the inevitable.

liberal supporter said...

cancer is just another form of entropy that’s as perfectly natural as the birds in the trees
True, but all of human activity is a process of reducing entropy (locally) or slowing its rate of increase. Of course according to Catherine, slowing the rate still amounts to increasing, and it is therefore useless, but slowing the rate means people live longer, pay taxes longer and all that.

In my opinion, the study of cancer gets at the heart of many kinds of disease. Consider that cancer amounts to mutated cells (which happens a thousand times a day) but which somehow fool the immune system so they continue replicating instead of being killed off. Figure out exactly how the cancer cells avoid the immune system, and you probably have a cure for AIDS. You would also have possibilities for alleviating other degenerative diseases by controlled tissue regrowth.

Years ago, I heard the quote that more people are making a living off cancer than are dying from it. That to me sounds like the research is paying off.

Red Tory said...

LS — Human activity most certainly isn’t “a process of reducing entropy” and any deliberate efforts to minimize its incontrovertible rate of increase are probably laughably insignificant (in a universal context). Moreover, it’s somewhat unhelpful to conflate the sensible conservation of our available energy resources here on earth with the thermodynamic principle of caloric shortfall. As for the conceivable benefits of cancer research, I guess my take is a considerably more pessimistic compared to yours. I don’t see the point in extending life or attempting to eradicate degenerative diseases and might even suggest that it’s not entirely logical or economically sound.

liberal supporter said...

Human activity most certainly isn’t “a process of reducing entropy”
I was thinking in the very local level. You build something, you have reduced the entropy of the materials (but increased the entropy in environment with waste). Plant crops, make things etc. You reduce entropy because you have applied energy. But burning fuel to keep warm increases the entropy of the fuel by turning it into combustion products and the energy converted to heat is high entropy and gets higher as it dissipates.

So aggregated human activity increases entropy. But the things we try to do to make our lives easier decrease entropy locally. My point was fighting cancer is not that different from replacing your house roof as far as slowing down death and decay goes.

Moreover, it’s somewhat unhelpful to conflate the sensible conservation of our available energy resources here on earth with the thermodynamic principle of caloric shortfall.
Not sure what you mean there. Conserving energy resources implies slowing the rate at which they are converted from low entropy energy (locked up in molecular bonds) to high entropy energy (dissipating and radiating heat).

I don’t see the point in extending life or attempting to eradicate degenerative diseases and might even suggest that it’s not entirely logical or economically sound.
I see from your earlier comment you excluded early diagnosis and treatment, but I think research tends to find answers to all stages. I certainly don't support major heroics on a routine basis, though improved quality and length of life are worthy goals.
I don't actually buy the argument that a more aged population is a bad thing. An unhealthy population is a bigger economic drain than an old one.

pretty shaved ape said...

from a charity bike ride to thermodynamics in one thread. the blog is full of wonders. i'm pretty sure that most people that aren't stoned on religion are aware that life is a terminal condition. i don't expect to live beyond my years and those years might come to an abrupt end at any time. but... if there are cancers that are preventable then i don't mind trying to discover those means of prevention. if there are cancers that can be fought in a manner that offers the patient a greater quality of life in their time available, then that's noble enough for me.

there is no cure for death. if my little donation or nanci's ride can help someone to suffer less than my mom suffered, then i am happy with the effort. humans aren't logical creatures, no matter how hard we pretend. perhaps it is waste and folly but most of us cling to life with tenacity. our life spans have increased with the advent of medicine and science, we live nearly twice as long as our medieval relatives could expect. for myself, give me as long as i am sound of mind, productive, curious and able to laugh. beyond that is waiting on dust.

for others the choice of cessation should be just as much a right as the choice to live. if cancer is nature's way of shedding an irritant from the skin of gaia then so be it. all of our futile efforts will eventually come asunder. but in the mean time we can choose to stick our obstinate little noses in the air and snub the inevitable, much as we do with silly activities like writing, love, making music and exploring the micro and macro universes around us. in the grand scale of things, all of human history is a tiny thing, come and gone in the blink of the eye. there is likely nothing much that we can do or achieve that is not futile measured against the vastness of the universe but that doesn't make it not worth doing.

liberal supporter said...

there is likely nothing much that we can do or achieve that is not futile measured against the vastness of the universe but that doesn't make it not worth doing.
Makes you feel so, sort of insignificant, doesn't it?


Can we have your liver then?

pretty shaved ape said...

sorry. i haven't finished abusing my liver quite yet.

Red Canuck said...

RT - I have to respectfully disagree with you, although I certainly see your POV. As a (still tenuous) cancer 'survivor' and a doctor, I have had the somewhat unique opportunity to see this disease from two distinct angles.

The heterogeneity of cancer is what makes your argument difficult to accept as a generalization. If what you say is true, why should we bother to research cures for any disease? MI, stroke...virtually all disease is as natural as the birds in the trees. But medical advances (some as fundamental as antibiotics) have significantly increased our lifespan over the years, and few poeple would complain about the fact that we are collectively living past the age of 40 these days.

But to get back to the heterogeneity thing, I concede that curing colon cancer in a 90 year old guy is probably of limited value, in terms of life-years added. But if you can cure leukemia in a 12 year old, is it necessarily any different than treating an otherwise fatal infection in that 12 year old with antibiotics? I don't think it is, which is why I don't feel comfortable with the idea that researching a cure for cancer is somehow a "quixotic" venture to defy the inevitable. It's a bit too fatalistic IMO. Or maybe I just don't want to be out of a job.

Red Tory said...

RC — It’s definitely a fatalistic point of view and I’m thoroughly prejudiced in the matter. PSA’s words are very inspirational and I think it’s probably best to just leave things at that.

PSA — Sorry for being so grumpy.

Red Canuck said...

RT - Agreed :)

pretty shaved ape said...

not to worry rt, we lurvs you and you are entitled to be grumpy when you feel grumpy.