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News coverage of Steve Jobs: A missed chance to highlight cancer research

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Last month a friend of mine lost her son to brain cancer. I attended the funeral and watched this mother deliver a eulogy with the most unbelievable amount of strength and courage I have ever witnessed.

I watched her support and comfort her two sons. I watched her comfort her mother and father and her many siblings. I watched her going through the motions of this horrific nightmare with emotional strength I would never have thought possible had I not seen it with my own two eyes.

At the graveside ceremony, I watched her set one of the white doves free and watched it fly away to join the other white doves that had been set free in a beautiful and haunting symbolic display.

I essentially watched my friend living through her most horrific nightmare while wishing, as we all did, that she'd wake up and not have lost her 14 year old "baby boy".

Many friends and close family members felt helpless and could only watch and lend what felt like miniscule amounts of support while my friend witnessed the decline of her son.

While were all cheering this family on, we were hoping that the doctors at Phoenix Children's Hospital would offer up a magic cure like they do for so many families with children suffering from cancer.

However, my friend's child had a form of brain cancer that was both inoperable and resistant to treatment. In spite of the poor prognosis, they fought like champions, and battled with the bravery and hope any mother would hold out for her son right up to the very end.

Ultimately, my friend's child was allowed to go home to be in his own home, with his own pets, in his own bed with his family at his side while he passed away.

Even now, tears fall and my heart feels constricted at the thought of such a tremendous loss.

Yesterday, at the very sorrowful news that Steve Jobs had died from Pancreatic Cancer, I felt much the same as the rest of the country felt, sorrow at the loss of such a creative and talented person.

Fifty Six is still very young these days, and as the coverage went on and on (and on) somewhere along the way, I began to feel annoyed.

I began to mutter at the television and the never ending stream of "experts" who talked about the Apple Corporation and Steve Jobs as they played and replayed speeches he had given.

When they began to discuss the type of cancer he had, there was a very real opportunity to educate people about cancer, and cancer research, and at every opportunity pictures of shiny iPods, iPads and laptops always seemed to reclaim center stage.

I felt annoyance morph into to a growing sense of impatience.

I was watching a major news network waste the attention they had garnered with a camera trained on an Apple Store in New York instead of highlighting a cancer research center working on breakthrough cures. They could have featured the desperate need of funding to find cures for people like my friend's son and Steve Jobs.

What a nauseatingly monumental waste of a perfect opportunity to generate something positive out of something tragic.

There is a vast need for funding and research relating to all types of cancer. CNN and many other news stations blew it.

Here are links to just a few of the very worthy organizations doing great work in cancer research:

Children's Brain Tumor Foundation
Children's Cancer Network


Tracy Lynn Cook is a writer in Gilbert, Arizona. She is active on Facebook, Twitter, or contact her via email at


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