I don’t usually do this and indeed I debated with myself for quite a while if I was going to post this video or not. I became aware of this video from a Tweet recently from my journalist colleague André Picard, of the Globe and Mail. The young man in the video, Mr. Eric McLean, videoed himself in what he knew was in effect, his obituary. He is in the final stages of a battle he is going to lose to leukemia, a battle that has apparently been going off and on for a decade. I saw this video first on MSN Now where the accompanying sidebar said:
Be forewarned: This isn’t a video with an uplifting ending. The final piece of Eric McLean’s five-year video blog, titled “Eric’s Confession Final,” is a candid, heart-wrenching message that will almost certainly make you cry. However, along with the tears it will also give you a better appreciation of just how exceptionally brave this 28-year-old is. The resident of Two Rivers, Wis., has spent half a decade battling acute myelogenous leukemia, which returned after he’d beaten it as a teen. In his final goodbye, he confesses he is scared but also notes how grateful he is to everyone and how much love he feels. Blessings on your journey, Eric.
The reason I debated posting this is that I don’t want to make people cry (confession: I did…) but even more importantly I do not want in the slightest to be exploiting these images in any way. This is a very private video, even though it is on YouTube in a very public way and is “trending” (meaning that lots of people are clicking on it).
When I watched this video it made me terribly sad (who could NOT be??) but it also made me thankful in a way to have been given the opportunity for 2 decades to have had a leadership position overseeing the funding of millions of dollars of stunningly world-class cancer research in Canada. And it made me angry in another way –or at least more resolute – to say that no one should ever have to make a video like this at the age of 28 to say goodbye to his loved ones because he is soon going to be dead from a cancer. Any cancer…
One way to give Eric McLean (and countless other like him unfortunately) a proper legacy would be a bit of a call to action on his behalf. So I enjoin you, wherever you live, to let your governments know that cutbacks in research in general and in cancer research in particular is NOT what you want. Send them this video – tell them that for all the money that is wasted on stupid, meaningless stuff that is often the more “usual” work of governments, this is NOT what you want for your future.
If you are a supporter of a favourite cancer research charity (mine is the Canadian Cancer Society) – dig a bit deeper into your pocket if you can this year. If you are not a supporter of such a charity, consider changing that.
Research into cancers like AML is expanding by leaps and bounds. Don’t let anyone put the brakes on. Make sure we don’t have to cry over videos like this in the future. Support cancer research in any way you can…