I created this piece, Endanger Cancer, not Elephants, because I love and am passionate about saving elephants – and because I know several breast cancer survivors. I want this to be a symbol of hope for them. On the surface, elephant poaching and cancer may seem like vastly different issues – and you’d be right to say they are, but there exists a commonality between the two: Poaching, like cancer, steals the lives of thousands - and affects many more – each year. Mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, wives and companions die in great numbers – but they don’t have to. At least in an ideal future they don’t.
So, I hope.
I hope for a day when the group of women I know – a group comprised of family, friends and public figures I admire – doesn’t have to live in fear, or with the constant reminders of an aggressive disease. I hope for the healing of their emotional scars – and for their joy in life. With some of these women, I’ve created lasting memories that cannot be destroyed by cancer, or death. But, these are women, and stories, I could miss every day there isn’t a cure.
So, I cling to hope.
Statistics estimate that breast cancer will steal the lives of approximately 40,000 women in the United States (per year). Similarly, in the past four years, over 100,000 elephants have been victims of poaching. Their ivory was stolen. Elephants, a keystone species, are a necessity to their ecosystem – and it’s entirely possible that their ecosystem houses the cure for cancer. The reality is, we’ve identified [some] causes, we’ve evaluated the emotional and monetary impacts and we still work to end these devastating losses – but we don’t know the cure.
But still, I hope.
I hope you view this piece as a symbol and bridge between two very devastating issues. Yes, the face value of what I’m proposing may be a reach, but we can’t afford to stand idly by while a species and ecosystem vanishes. Our inaction could see the disappearance of a cure before it’s even discovered. So I’m taking a step to “Endanger Cancer, not Elephants,” by making equal donations to Susan G. Komen - in honor of those I know – and to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust - for elephants.
I invite you to join me and use the hashtag - #EndangerCancerNotElephants - to say you will. This is my hope. Now, I present:
Endanger Cancer, not Elephants