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April 17, 2012 / amberwoodterracechiro

Elkhart Cancer Rates: My Double Take

I will never forget the day at IU when I got a phone call from my friend, Pete.  I answered like any other normal night and all I heard was: “Corey has cancer.”  Anyone who gets that phone call knows  there are feelings of disbelief, questions about survival, and feelings of helplessness.  Unknowingly, that situation had a big impact on my journey to become an alternative healthcare practitioner. When I started thinking about all my friends and their families, I was having trouble thinking of any that DIDN’T have a member with a potentially fatal disease.  How could that be?  Was it JUST Elkhart?  I quickly found that Elkhart does have higher rates of cancer, but this was something impacting America as a whole.  I speak out in a passionate, yet controversial way, when it comes to genetic expression, so I’ll stay off my soapbox for a moment in order to get to the point.

When you’re young and someone your age gets deathly ill, it hits you like a ton of bricks.  It sparks something inside you to impact the world (youth are just that way!).  So, when we found out that Corey had cancer, we were compelled to do something about it.  My friends and I founded a nonprofit event to raise money for families in Elkhart County who have a pediatric cancer patient. When we started looking for families to raise money for each year, I did a complete double take.  I had NO IDEA how many kids were getting cancer, right in my backyard.  As a doctor, I work everyday to erase that statistic, but as a friend, I help run “Cockopalooza.”  We named our yearly event after Corey Cox, that often goes by “Cocko.”  We head out to Elcona Country Club for a Freedomball tournament (essentially wiffle ball), a golf scramble, and a cornhole tourney every year and have a blast seeing the community come together (we even get the kids cleared for large groups and outdoor activity to come play with us-that makes it all worth it!).  All the proceeds raised go directly to those kids and their families battling cancer in Elkhart County. 

Last year, we had an awesome, local artist named Jimm Showman donate a robot to our silent auction.  I’m not sure how to describe a robot, but it was so incredible that people were fighting over it!  I’ve never seen anything like it!  He constructs these robots to function if they have a part that operates: lights light up, back massagers vibrate, telephones ring!  He is on a similar crusade to raise awareness and is taking it upon himself to go without sleep for the next month while he constructs “30 robots in 30 days.”  As a doctor, I told him he’s crazy…”You need sleep to function!’, but as a friend I told him to not waste a second sleeping…”We need the best 30 robots you can think up!’ As he proceeded to tell me that he hasn’t slept in 2 weeks and he’s been living on Doritos and Mountain Dew, I knew the doctor message was out the door. He has taken requests for a couple of the robots; therefore, there is one specifically for breast cancer (pictured) and the autism awareness robot (pictured) is already in its new home.  All the proceeds from the robot sales will go to Cockopalooza 2012 and Soup of Success (another great, local charity).  I encourage you to contact Jimm through his facebook page Invention51 to purchase a robot and check out www.cockopalooza.com if you just want to be a part of the festivities this year on September 29th! The most fulfilling moments are those spent serving something greater than yourself.

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  1. HattieBelle / Jun 26 2012 9:03 am

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