Don’t Let Cancer Win

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops Jon Bones Jones on TV defending his title at UFC 172 main event in Baltimore“Mom, do you need anything brought to the cleaners?” my son asked, holding up a half- dozen dress shirts in shades of blues and red.
“What are all those for?” I asked. His eyes sparkled.
“If Jon wins,” he said gleaming, “parties.” The coming weekend, his friend, Jon Bones Jones, would defend his title as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion of the world.
As my son walked to his car, the colorful shirts fluttered in the wind, reminding me of Tibetan prayer flags. And suddenly hope was hugging me as I watched him drive off.

Jon’s fight; I had to see it. He had to win.

“So bloody. Too violent,” friends said when I canvassed to share the Pay-Per-View. To see the event I’d have to go to a bar, by myself, at ten on Saturday night. That was less likely than my son ironing shirts. But I was determined.
Googling the contender’s name, I couldn’t stop reading about his powerful blows and 20-game winning streak. Could Jon beat this guy? Memories of injuries from past fights pummeled at my hopes. I rubbed my eyes to wish on fallen lashes. I cried, imagining the dismal scene if he lost, the clean shirts put back upstairs unused. Please let Jon win.
For days I willed him to be strong and went without my daily glass of wine, to comply with his training regimen. Let Jon keep his title, I pleaded each night, looking up at the stars as I walked the dog. He has to win, I told myself all week. The last time I’d prayed this hard was near the end of my daughter’s almost three-year battle with leukemia. I needed a victory celebration.

“I’m so excited,” I emailed back to my friend Marcy when she confirmed I could watch the fight at her place. “I’m so nervous,” I told her husband and son-in-law as I plopped down on their couch during the preliminaries and quickly devoured the corn-chips.
Please win, I whispered as the match began.
Please, because I want my son to wear his dress shirts and be happy.
Win, because my daughter’s friend, Jake, an avid martial artist, had said, “Don’t let the cancer win,” before he died. And last week, Troy, one of her high school classmates, lost his fight against cancer. Because the National Cancer Institute reports survival rates for young adults with cancer have not improved like the rates for pediatric and adult cancers.

You have to win, Jon. Because I need to see more young people winning their fights and living their dreams.Robin Botie photoshops Jon Bones Jones winning UFC Light Heavyweight Championship


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One thought on “Don’t Let Cancer Win

  1. Annah Elizabeth

    Hi, Robin,

    I’ve been reading your posts via +Google, so it’s nice to actually land here, in its rightful space…

    Might I ask a question? I know we talk about cancer (disease) as being a battle, and I’ve no doubt that the struggles do create that very sense and reality. But, as I read this, I can’t help but ask: Did cancer really win? I know that this horrible disease robbed you of her physical presence and Marika of more time to spread her wings and grace this world with more of her splendor. But did it strip you of your Mother title and Marika of her place as Daughter? Can it take away all those beautiful memories you shared?

    One of the interesting definitions of “win” is to “earn the love of somebody…” There, in that space and in that sense, you and Marika and her friends are the greatest winners of all…champions for life…

    Hugs, Journeyer…


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