October – Cancer Awareness Month

October 11th, 2011

By Jonathan Hawkes National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) came to be in 1985. In 1991, the Susan G. Komen foundation passed out pink ribbons for the first time to racers in New York at a race for breast cancer survivors. Cancer awareness month has been around since I was 11, but until the last few years, it has never really had such a major impact on my life. Over the last few years, you have seen NFL teams sport pink cleats and wear ribbons on their jerseys. Needless to say, it is becoming more mainstream to support cancer research and unite everyone into helping support finding the cure. My wife was diagnosed with her second round of cancer in July 2009. Prior to that, she was cancer free for 9 years. We thought we were in the clear. However it came back very aggressively. Stage 4 melanoma in her liver. After 2nd, 3rd, and 4th opinions, the oncologists all said the same thing. She has 6 months to live without treatments, and maybe a year and a half with treatments. We discussed it, and she wanted to fight as hard as she could. We have 5 children, and she wanted to do whatever she could for them and for me. There was a 30% chance that she would make it through. I thought that 30% was great and so did she. That is how we looked at the whole experience. WE will get through this. As her treatments became more intense. I had to leave IOGEAR to help her and the children. I dedicated all of my time to her. Doctor visits, and treatments in all forms. Since her cancer was at such a late stage, the only options we had were experimental treatments. One of them worked amazingly. It started to reduce the size of her tumors in her liver. However as with all experiments, they could not predict what would happen next. The cancer still spread to other parts of her body. However the experimental treatments are something that have made amazing progress over the years and are getting better and better. One of the experiments she was on is now up for review from the FDA, and could very soon be a recommended treatment for people with liver cancer. This October 4th will mark the first anniversary of my wife passing. Oddly enough during cancer awareness month. From the time she was diagnosed, we started to make videos and posting them on YouTube. It was for the family members across the country, and helped eliminate 30-40 calls a day to check on her status. For a year and a half we posted a little over 200 videos. It became something she would look forward to especially when she was having a good day. If you wish to view the fight, go to www.youtube.com/jhawkes68 It will make you laugh and cry, and sometimes both at the same time. A few months after she passed, I came back to work for IOGEAR. My new manager knew my situation, and presented me with something on my first day back. It was a pink card reader. I looked at it, and said, “ummm ok?” He was trying to get approval to work with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® (SGK) foundation. Our marketing director was also pushing for this to get approved. Needless to say, I thought how awesome it would be to put this little card reader into every retailer I could possibly think of and sell a million units. For every one that we sell, $1.00 goes to the SGK foundation. Just don't tell my boss my goal is a million units, or my quota will get raised. So I worked and thought of what I could do to support this great cause. Sell a product our company is really good at making, open up new channels, and shoot for the biggest new customers I could think of for the biggest impact of trying to get to 1 million card readers sold. Sales is all about timing and luck, and both just happened to align. I was able to get a meeting with Walgreens. I have recently seen their commercials on TV regarding the partnership with Walgreens and SGK for the walk for the cure. The buyer was very happy with the product, liked the idea, and immediately set us up as new vendor. As I am writing this blog, the product is being placed on the shelves of 6,500 Walgreens across the country, and will be up and ready before October 1st. I was also able to get Barnes and Noble to pick this up, and it is already selling on their site BN.com. The buyer over there has been amazed at the initial response. For every unit that is sold, $1.00 will go to the SGK Foundation. That $1.00 could make the difference in finding the cure. Cancer awareness month is going to take on a whole new meaning for me this year. I want this disease to end, and I may not be able to raise $1 Million dollars myself, but with the help and support of IOGEAR, Walgreens, Barnes and Noble, and others that I am sure to follow, they are helping me with my personal and professional goals of doing something within my power. My wife is still my inspiration and it is because of her I have realized how devastating this disease is, and how close we are getting to finding the cure. I hope that in my children's lifetime, a cure can be found. Find out how you can help and thanks for the support!!

About the Author

Jonathan Hawkes

Jonathan Hawkes

Movieholic, and Sci-fi uber geek. I have a passion for technology, and love when sci-fi meets the real world. Technology is our future.