Monday, December 14, 2009

In Memory: One Voice Makes a Difference

Today, I'm honoring the memory of my graddad, a famous World War II combat cameraman. He died from cancer 4 years ago today at 96 years old, but his spirit lives on. He always believed that everyone had a story to tell. Everyone's story, even if "unknown" or "un-famous" or "behind the lens" was equally important.

My crusade may be a different in subject matter, but I know that if my grandfather had survived his cancer, he would probably be at my side with my advocacy in the fight against cancer. He would have appreciated "young lads" like Lance Armstrong and Doug Ulman for their "obligation to the cure" and advocacy work. (And...Lance & Doug -- he probably would have thought he could teach ya'll a thing or two, at over twice your ages) :)

His crusade? To tell the stories and share his work filming the aftermath of the atomic bomb detonations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To ensure that combat cameramen world-wide were recognized for their work (where possible) and their heroic actions were documented. He was co-founder of the International Combat Camerman Association.

I remember him telling me, "Everyone has a story -- what's yours going to be?"

How was I going to make my life count? Being Irish, we thrive on our stories. But, even more, he thrived on making a difference in the world and in speaking out for those that didn't have as large of a voice. I learned many lessons from him, but one of the largest is that one voice CAN make a difference.

Share your story and help change the stigma of cancer. Contact your local government and fight for change. I realize my fight may just be a drop in the ocean, and that our Cures Rock! Tour is one of so many events, but perhaps it'll start a ripple among many that'll help find the cure for cancer. While I know my granddad would have never wanted to see his grandkids fight cancer (and he didn't have to as I wasn't diagnosed until 2006), I will continue to fight for a world where his nieces & nephew...say, "What's Cancer?

(For more information on joining forces in the fight against cancer, go to:

Daniel McGovern surveys ground zero in Nagasaki, Japan. (Posted on


  1. Julie - I really enjoyed this tribute to your Granddad. He would be quite proud of you. Art


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