Hidden smiles from fabric masks in the grocery stores. Staying six feet away from your friend you haven’t seen in ages. Teachers attempting to cultivate a virtual environment conducive to learning, lacking the ability to give their students a high-5 or a sticker for a job well-done. With most states and countries across the world gradually reopening their economies in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, global citizens are left to wonder what will be the “new normal.”
For cancer patients across the world, however, this “new normal” doesn’t feel all that different. In fact, active cancer patients and survivors often take many of these same precautions. While fighting cancer, the immune system becomes extremely vulnerable to outside pathogens, especially viruses. Even the common cold can present extreme complications and infections for cancer patients.
For teachers with cancer there is an inherent risk reporting to work as children are often more susceptible to illness given vast spread due to lack of precautionary measures such as hand-washing and disinfectant. Each school day, these teachers risk their health in an effort to provide their students with stability and a lasting education.
The social distancing measures being taken as a response to the coronavirus work to protect the immunosuppressed, including cancer patients of all types. Both the cancer and the coronavirus have no boundaries, affecting citizens worldwide. It takes a collective effort to develop vaccines, immunotherapies, and treatments to combat these illnesses.
Perhaps, then, this “new normal” will bring about more precautions to protect against the spread of viruses, while in turn providing cancer patients with greater safety in their communities through greater precautions. For teachers with cancer, perhaps this “new normal” will benefit their future teachings, enabling them to have a greater virtual impact on their students through the learning curve from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, perhaps it’s possible that the coronavirus outbreak will teach people the importance of unity in the face of national and global illness.
During these unprecedented times, Flunk Cancer remains committed to supporting teachers and their families afflicted with cancer. Committed to advocating for teachers to receive higher pay and greater health benefits and facilitating conversations regarding these issues. Committed to connecting these teachers to clinical trials and other resources to ease their journey as they navigate through their new normal.
We hope that through our support we can enable teachers to remain committed to their goals. Teachers have the ability to inspire the next generation – inspire their students to pursue careers in science and medicine in hopes of finding a cure for cancer as well as protecting against other unknown viruses. Most importantly, we need our teachers to continue to encourage the younger generation to use their voice to create needed change.