By Bob Magee of Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets (PWBTS.com)
Back on October 27, 2000, I wrote a column that had nothing whatsoever to do with wrestling, but was a lot more important.
Longtime readers might remember this one:
‘ Yup….this is going to be another one of those columns where we don’t talk about subjects like the reason why WCW’s booking sucks these days. So if you want to go to one of those columns written by people who occasionally throw in some wrestling news and opinion in between their links to porn sites in order to get hits, have fun.
I’m not your cup of tea this week.
Instead, I want to talk about something serious that has nothing whatever to do with wrestling.
Let me start by saying that I’m always for practical ways to do good things. It’s the reason that we use some of the strategies that we use with Wrestling Fans Against Censorship. We try to do something good by doing what works most effectively and easily, while involving others. So I’m for things practical…
But at the same time, one of my favorite comic strips is Tom Batiuk’s ‘Funky Winkerbean’. So when the strip began a storyline on breast cancer back in January 1999, I stood up and took notice as I read the strip on the way into work on the subway, or with my Sunday breakfast. It explored the storyline of character ‘Lisa Moore’, who after getting tackled in a football game with friends, felt discomfort, and later did a breast self-examination. She then discovered that she had breast cancer. The last few mornings while reading before my subway stop, I noticed a series of strips that had ‘Lisa’ talking with other members of her breast cancer support group.
Then this morning, when I read the press release from BusinessWire about this project that follows this introduction, I figured it fit my philosophy of doing something good by doing what works, effectively and easily, and especially involving others. I figured I’d like to give over the column this week to share this with all of you.
Concurrently with this being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a book called ‘Lisa’s Story’ has been made of the strips that involve the ‘Lisa Moore’ storyline in the ‘Funky Winkerbean’ strip, with sales benefiting the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations. You can order this book from Amazon.com through this direct order link.
Even though I’m male, I find this to be important, because many of my best friends are women. My fellow school counselor I share my office with for eight hours a day is a woman. So are many of the students I serve. For that matter, so are many of my friends, my mom, and many other important folks in my life.
I’ve also known women who’ve fought the battle against breast cancer. So I find the issue important enough to ask you to take a few minutes and read the information below. For any of the women reading this, I’d also like to suggest that you consider getting a mammogram, as well as practice breast self-examination. NABCO, as well as many local women’s and medical organizations can help you get both. For those that have women in their lives that they love, help encourage them to do so, too. To help you encourage women to do this, those who wish to do so can even sign up with an e-mail reminder service sponsored by NABCO; and ten months after your last clinical breast exam or mammogram, NABCO will send you an e-mail message, reminding you to schedule your next exam.
For additional breast cancer information, contact NABCO toll free at (888) 80-NABCO, or if living in the New York metropolitan area, call Christiana Evers at (212) 889-0606, ext. 3006. You can also get breast cancer information by visiting NABCO online at their website.
For those of you men (and women) who feel uncomfortable hearing about this subject, and who think it’s stupid for someone writing a ‘wrestling column’ to be talking about it…think about how much more ‘stupid’ it will be if someone you love dies, simply because she didn’t take the time to be safe.”
That was back in 2000.
Since then, I’ve mentioned the breast cancer charity work of PWBTS writer and UK indy wrestling promoter Peter Staniforth and his significant other and promoted it on PWBTS.com.
Breast cancer has affected wrestling as well. The wrestling business saw Marianna Komlos, who worked together from 1999 with boyfriend Charles Warrington, die of breast cancer in 2004. Better known is the death of Jeff Jarrett’s wife, who died of breast cancer died May 23, 2007 at the age of 37 after a recurrence of breast cancer
As for the Lisa Moore breast cancer story, it wasn’t dropped by King Features and Tom Batiuk; including a storyline arc involving Les Moore and Lisa working to have a child, and the possible risk factor for a recurrence of her breast cancer due to increased estrogen levels. They eventually had a child named Summer.
Beginning in March 2006, Tom Batiuk took the Lisa Moore saga farther, by having ‘Lisa Moore’ suffer a recurrence of her breast cancer, a recurrence that she did not recover from…all the way through a 20 month storyline that saw her character die on October 4 in a gut-wrenching journey of pain, loss and acceptance as the strip went through the last month of Lisa Moore’s life, including her reconcilitation with her birth son who she gave up for adoption in the strip’s earlier days.
To read the strips over that final arc, go to this link, then read through the subsequent strips.
Those strips would have been difficult enough to read under any circumstances.
Then, only days before my own 50th birthday, my own mother received a diagnosis of breast cancer. She went through a full regime of one type of chemotherapy, and is midway through another. The tumor, caught at an early stage, has responded well to the chemotherapy; but watching her suffere through chemotherapy’s effects, and the other drugs she had to take as part of her regime were particularly painful to watch.
Batiuk, who is himself a cancer survivor, used the aforementioned 2000 ‘Lisa’s Story’ book to raise money for breast cancer. Now he and King Features syndicate will donate all royalties from a book called ‘Lisa’s Story: The Other Shoe’ (published by Kent State University Press to the University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center in Cleveland, OH and a fund to be called ‘Lisa’s Legacy Fund for Cancer Research and Education, named in honor of Batiuk’s character and her subsequent story.
The University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center is one of only 40 comprehensive National Institutes of Health cancer centers in the United States; and has been. operating for nineteen years. The Center is a leading center for patient care, cancer research, and community education about cancer care. 100% of the donations to Lisa’s Legacy Fund will go to cancer research and education at Ireland Cancer Center.
The Center is involved in ongoing research including breast cancer vaccine reasearch, as well as research toward a blood test for colon cancer, breakthrough chemotherapy and radiation treatments for all types of cancer. Ireland Cancer Center is one of only eight cancer centers in the country to have access to a pipeline of new drugs through the National Cancer Institute for early phase clinical trials.
‘Lisa’s Story: The Other Shoe’ includes the initial 1999 storyline arc, and 2007′s strips about the return of ‘Lisa’s’ disease, as well as needed resource material about breast cancer.
Until next time….
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