President Carter Kicks Cancer

Cancer Free! We couldn’t be more excited for President Jimmy Carter’s latest announcement. The 39th president, professor, and avid Sunday School teacher is the only president to have ever received the Nobel Peace Prize after leaving office. Last August, Carter had a lesion on his liver removed. Shortly after, doctors discovered that not only that the cancer was melanoma, one of the deadliest of all cancers, but the cancer had spread to his brain. In addition to using radiation on the four small tumors in his brain, Carter and his doctors also decided to add a new immunotherapy drug, pembrolizumab, just approved by the FDA.

In a recent statement, President Carter shared, “My most recent MRI brain scan did not reveal any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones. I will continue to receive regular 3-week immunotherapy treatments of pembrolizumab.”

According to Cancer Research, there are more than 200 types of cancer. Cancer claims more than half a million lives a year. And, doctors say, prevention is still key for many cancers, such as melanoma, where sun exposure and tanning beds dramatically raise a person’s risk.

A few years ago, we sat down with President Jimmy Carter and talked about what he would share with this generation and lessons on prayer. We loved what he said when asked about advice he would pass on. He shared from 2 Corinthians and emphasized how Paul’s answer of the unseen things was strange and mysterious but also describes the moral life, and the life of Jesus Christ.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

I’m the only president that ever quoted a high school teacher in his inaugural address. And I quoted the same high school teacher in my Nobel (Peace Prize) address. My favorite teacher in life, an old maid school teacher named Miss Judy Coleman said, ‘We must accommodate changing times, but cling to unchanging principles.’ I think that encompasses as concisely as I can imagine, advice to young people. I think every generation has to accommodate changing times. Now with instant communications around the world with Twitter and Facebook, we have to accommodate those changing times, but there are principles that don’t change. And that’s what I teach every Sunday in my Bible lessons, the principles that don’t change, and never will change; the basic moral values that should permeate the life of a human being, or the life of a family, or the life of a nation.

And while today there are more than 14 million cancer survivors across the country, millions of others died in their fight. President Carter’s journey provides hope for others.

“I think there’s a huge effect of President Carter on cancer patients and cancer survivors because there were several things he demonstrated that are wonderful role models,” said Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. He went on to say, “Here’s a man who’s in his 90s being active in his treatment. He demonstrated he was fully engaged and informed on the discussion about his care – he helped make the decisions.”

We know that President Carter’s faith has been stretched during his battle with cancer. One of the things we admired most when we spoke with him was his commitment to prayer.

I think the prayer process not only gives us the feeling of – I wouldn’t say inferiority- but a matter of subjugation to God’s will. But if our prayers are not answered then we have an obligation to search for an alternative compatible with our influence and human characteristics to make the most of the remaining years of our life. That’s always been my basic belief. I’ve changed my mind quite often in my lifetime. When I was a child the only thing I wanted to do was to go to Annapolis and be a naval officer because that was only one of the two free college in the United States during the Great Depression years when my family didn’t have any money. And that prayer was answered. When I got out of the Navy I wanted to be a successful businessman. I didn’t even think about running for office until I had been out of the Navy for eight years and I was pretty advanced in age. I ran for office to save the public school systems from segregationist pressures. I changed my career plans often. 

All of us have or know someone impacted by some form of cancer. Unfortunately, with the way our health care system is set up, it leaves many gaps and things that are needed go uncovered. It presents the opportunity for us to reach out and help others in need. Here are some ways you can help someone who has cancer.

Risen Reflections

Pray– Ask God for His healing touch. Ask God to show you who you can reach out to and help. Ask Him for His strength.

Offer to help– From chemo and doctor appointments to errands, offer a ride to someone in need. Friends with kids might need someone to babysit while they go to their appointments. They might even need help doing household chores.

Make a meal– Ask them if they have any meal requests or restrictions and make a meal for them and their family. Even buying groceries can alleviate some of the burden. Can’t cook? Give them a gift card!

Encourage– Share a favorite verse or write an encouraging note. Help someone to focus on the “unseen.” If you’re artistic, make a sign or banner that the person can post on their wall.

Serve– Don’t know anyone personally? Reach out to your church or local group and see how you can help! There are many community organizations that help cancer patients and their families.

To read the full article on President Carter click here.

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