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Standing up to cancer

(From Tammy Fine, TODAY producer)I remember exactly where I was when my mother first told me she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I was just home from college for Thanksgiving vacation.  We were on the way home from the airport, and she told me on that car ride. I cried the whole way home.I remember exactly where I was when I first learned my father was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. I was in Minne

(From Tammy Fine, TODAY producer)

I remember exactly where I was when my mother first told me she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I was just home from college for Thanksgiving vacation.  We were on the way home from the airport, and she told me on that car ride. I cried the whole way home.

I remember exactly where I was when I first learned my father was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. I was in Minnesota, on a bus following Jesse Ventura on one of his "get out and meet the voters" tours. As important as my work was to me, I couldn't wait to get on the airplane and get to my family. I cried the whole way home.

C-A-N-C-E-R.  It's such a short, simple word, and yet it has the power to scare like few others. And while diagnostics and treatments have improved, there is so much more to do. Sadly, few people make it through life without being touched by Cancer.

I always felt lucky. I lived through my parents battles, and, more importantly, they did too.

But in January when I had to try to explain to my 3-year-old twins why I was going to the hospital, and now, five months later, why Mommy has mastectomy scars on her breasts, I can't help but wonder if these the conversations that will be passed down generation to generation in my family? Will we all be touched by this dreaded disease in some way?

I'm not sure, but there is one thing I know. We are a family that survived cancer. And that survival has to count for something, because as scary as a cancer diagnosis can be, the fact that so many people are living with it, instead of dying from it, is an important fact.

That is why today's announcement by the NBC, ABC and CBS networks to join together and air a broadcast special on September 5, 2008, "Stand Up To Cancer," is such a wonderful development. If these networks can harness their power to fund raise, educate and motivate people to fight on, it's something we should applaud, celebrate and participate in --  the fact that together we all can make a difference.

To register for e-mail updates from the Stand Up to Cancer organization, click here.