For those of you who have never heard the name Lane Goodwin, he’s a 13-year-old boy from Kentucky who has bravely been fighting stage IV alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. A “Thumbs Up for Lane” social media campaign has spread around the country, with people from everywhere posting thumbs-up pictures in support of Lane and his illness. A Facebook page entitles, “Prayers for Lane Goodwin” shows many of these encouraging photos: https://www.facebook.com/PrayersforLaneGoodwin. Lane’s goal was 100K likes on his page. He’s now at 216K likes and counting.
This morning, the Goodwin family posted a photo of presidential candidate Mitt Romney with two thumbs up for Lane. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a Romney fan. But the fact that Lane’s campaign made its way to a candidate for president is nothing short of amazing! Politically, this means it shouldn’t be too long before we see President Obama giving Lane a thumbs up, too. But in terms of childhood cancer, it means that the movement is making its way to where it needs to be: On the road to more funding for childhood cancer research. Because the movement needs to start at the top if there ever will be hope for making a truly significant difference.
Sadly, many people immediately saw Romney’s thumbs-up photo as just another attempt to get votes and thus, presented it as a negative thing. Heck, before I really understood the severity of childhood cancer, it’s highly likely I would have thought the same thing. But after reading Lane’s story and the story of so many other childhood cancer warriors like him, I see how utterly ridiculous that is. I honestly don’t care what Romney’s intentions were. Though I will say that if he actually knows who Lane Goodwin is, I highly doubt that his thumbs up was anything but genuine. But even on the off chance that he simply took a photo with his thumbs up, not knowing what the actual purpose was, what’s important is the result that it achieves. If having a candidate for president recognize a young boy who’s dying from cancer leads to more awareness about the need for funding to cure him, then the photo simply cannot be viewed as negative. When I imagine the joy Lane must have felt when he saw that a candidate for President of the United States was giving HIM a thumbs up, I cannot see any negative in that.
Childhood cancer is not Democrat or Republican. Childhood cancer doesn’t give a rat’s ass who you’re voting for in the presidential election. And when it comes to finding a cure, it makes absolutely no difference whether the funding comes from a Romney supporter or an Obama supporter. Because cancer is a bipartisan killer and makes no political distinctions when choosing its next childhood victim. Nor should we when aiming for a cure.
So maybe, just maybe, this photo of Mitt Romney and his thumb-up-for-Lane will truly do some good. Maybe the one thing Democrats and Republicans will finally agree upon is the need to fund research to cure childhood cancers, so boys like Lane can grow up strong and make a difference in the world.
Because if politicians can’t find agreement about saving kids from the horrors of cancer, then we’re much bigger trouble than I ever thought possible.