May 22nd, 2008
05:32 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: When you care enough

Erica Hill
360° Correspondent

This is a beautiful story about love, compassion and the power of a mother. In the aftermath of the China earthquake, one local police officer – who is also the mother of a 6 month old – began nursing orphaned babies and those whose mothers could no longer feed them.

Some of the women had lost their milk because of the trauma. This mother didn’t think twice about helping the infants in need. What a smart, selfless, kind and important decision by this mom to help. I am in awe.

There are an estimated 4,000 orphans in China as a result of the 7.9 magnitude quake. The only positive to that bit of information is that thousands more Chinese are responding, hoping to adopt these children.


Cancer touches too many families. Most of you reading this blog know someone who has been diagnosed – and hopefully beaten – cancer, whether it’s a family member, friend or co-worker. My Dad’s side of the family has been hit with enough cancer to fill a textbook. My Dad is a survivor of head and neck cancer – a somewhat rare but no less nasty form of the disease.

Hearing someone you love has cancer is probably one of the scariest moments in life. It feels like a death sentence. It feels heavy, suffocating, and incredibly scary.

Then you start to talk about “the options”… treatments, recovery prognosis, possible side effects. It is overwhelming. It’s also tough to know what to make of all of this new information. There isn’t normally a lot of time for you to process it; cancer needs to be treated as soon as possible.

CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has put together a fantastic list of resources for cancer patients and those who love and care for them. A list I wish I’d had six years ago.

One more thing: please don’t forget the caregivers. They, too, need your love and support; it isn’t easy being a cancer patient’s rock.


In honor of Memorial Day and the start of summer, let’s round this out with a little beach time. Where is the best place for that kind of R&R? Click here to find out.

Filed under: Erica Hill
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Victor in Saanich, B.C.

    Erica. Basal cell carcinoma nevus syndrome!! Now there is a 360 story line for you. From babies to the elderly and multiple problems indeed. Odds from 1 in 65,00 to 200,00 have been bandied about. As a Canuck I am glad to have my medical covered [ the hoops your insurance companies make US patients jump through!!] but our right wing nuts in gouvernment and our Canadian Medical Association are working to screw us. Your American Cancer Association at least has come up with the right TV ads about why it should not be that cancer should cause bancruptcy!! To the Cancer Centres of America a simple question – Why is it that no one is referred to as having died in your commercials on television? Corporate truth would allow that you can't save all your clients!! Another 360 story line !!

    May 24, 2008 at 3:47 am |
  2. Maggie in SC


    My Grandfather is 93 years old. He beat colon cancer and skin cancer in the 70's. He lives by himself, drives and has a bowling average of 210. He has beaten cancer, so don't be discouraged.

    As for the disaster in China. It saddens me more to know that for each family that lost a child, it was their only child. China has strict rules on birth, one to a family. For every life lost it is the parents hearts that break for their only child lost.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:39 am |
  3. michelle: Ont,Canada

    Dear Erica

    I'm so sorry to hear about your dad please keep the faith and

    remember my thoughts and prayers are wuth you and familly.

    The story about the mother in china is so uplifitng to know that someone cares about babies and nuturing them when then need so
    much care. This will inspire people around thw world to honor thier onw child much more.

    Thanks for your great stories
    Erica !


    May 23, 2008 at 10:06 am |
  4. Antonia Boregman

    Hey Now Erica,
    I am so sorry to hear about your Dad having cancer...it's an awful disease that affects thousands of lives every year....Let's hope and pray for a cure so our loved ones don't have to go through this ordeal.

    In 2005 my Father was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his stomach....So I know exactly what you are going through..Luckly enough he made it through and is cancer free today!

    This Memorial Day Holiday do something special with your Dad...and give him a big hug from me...
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family...
    Antonia Boregman...New Jersey

    May 22, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  5. Annie Kate


    What a wonderful story about the woman nursing the babies in China. Her selfless act is keeping those babies from starving to death.
    I'm glad you shared that with us.

    Cancer is scary – most life threatening diseases are. And deciding on the course of treatment – you feel like you are stepping off a cliff into a void and you wonder if someone will catch you or if you will just keep falling.

    Have a great Memorial Day wherever you decide to have it.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 22, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  6. Renee

    Hi Erica:

    Thanks for the update on Caledisi Island. I guess the boat is up to $9 now. Wow! I remember when the boat ride was $2. It is one of my favorites. I am glad to live in the water between Siesta Key and Caledisi. The beaches on the west coast of Florida are awesome. The sand on Siesta is like baby powder.

    I am in agreement with the Califorians too. I don't think you can beat the coast in Monterey, CA either. Then again the Vineyard, Shelter Island and Southhampton are my personal summer favorities too.

    Give me a beach, a boat and a kayak and I am one happy gal!

    May 22, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  7. Genevieve M, TX

    To Jason,

    There are some posts I don't read, because I find them to be boring.

    If you find this post to be boring, then don't read it. Your comment is worse than "boring", it is rude!

    May 22, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  8. Megan Dresslar

    Hi Erica,
    I have 2 people my life, both of my dad and grandmother have cancer, both also died, I have wore pink ribbon....... I missed both of them. they were best my friend forever, and I'm sorry about that your dad...... he is so amazing survivor. my thoughts and prayer to you and your dad........ I am praying for you so hard!!!!! keep fighting a disease!
    My support to beat this cancer and disease.
    @ Bill in Nebraska and Lilibeth in Edmonds, Wa
    I agree with both of you.... I know you missed old home in Seattle. it is best place I love or live in. I hope that you would like to visit back here in Seattle, Bill!
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, WA

    May 22, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  9. Lilibeth

    To Bill in Nebraska:

    You're right...Seattle is the best place in the world! I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so! I live here and I love it! Woo Hoo!

    May 22, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  10. jason


    May 22, 2008 at 7:39 pm |
  11. Lilibeth

    My husband’s side of the family has to deal with cancer. His dad has skin cancer and has learned to live with it, but recently he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The doctors told him he may have seven more years to live if he receives treatment now. He’s 80 and has lived a full life, so my husband took the “seven years” as "good news." But if you ask me, I feel weird when I hear the words "seven years to live." It may sound so far and so out there, but it also sounds so final. In that sense, I don’t feel so joyful about it. Maybe I want my parents to live forever and ever (seven years is not enough for me, I guess) and I’m just not willing to accept the fact that they’re going to die one day. At some point, I know I’ll have to face this; I just hope I’ll have the strength to survive it.

    See you tonight.

    Edmonds, Washington

    May 22, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  12. Genevieve M, TX

    If you are going to the beach or anywhere else that is sunny, don't forget to bring and use lots of sunscreen! Be sure to apply it liberally and often to avoid a sunburn. The "boiled lobster" look is neither healthy nor chic. 😉

    May 22, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  13. Ruby Coria, LA., CA.

    Hello Erica, you are so right about cancer.. it's one of them things that makes you hold your breath.. China, it's still hard to watch.. Erica that's way cool that you hit other point other then `saint obama'.. see u.

    May 22, 2008 at 7:08 pm |
  14. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Helping feed those babies in China is just awesome. Throughout history women have fed other children in need at their breast. We as women really are the reason the species will survive.

    I remember when my doctor told me he thought I could have breast cancer. I was 31. I have never been so terrified. I researched everything just in case. I was ok. A few years later a different doc during a routine exam thought I had bladder cancer based on symptoms. Again I was terrified. Again, I researched. Again I dodged a bullet. Cancer is so scary. The concept is scary. Until I had tests run and second opinions I sat in terror. All the knowledge didn't make it better or worse, just more in control of the unknown. And because of the scares and unknowns and knowns I am super cautious. I have all the routine tests. I ask all the questions. I just don't take being healthy for granted. My dad survived prostate and skin cancers. My godfather (dad's only brother) died of lung cancer. Their dad (my grandpa) had lung cancer and skin cancers. My maternal grandpa died of colon cancer. For those of us with family histories and scares, these resources are sanity and life savers. And definitely worth sharing.

    My idea of R&R is definitely not a beach. Give me time to play in a large city here or abroad with good shopping, museums, and entertainment, a room in a nice hotel, good restaurants, good company, and I'm set. I'm currently trying to figure out where I am headed for R&R this summer. It's not happening at a beach, though.

    May 22, 2008 at 7:04 pm |
  15. Christina, Windber, PA

    Hey Erica
    That's a beautiful story about the mother in China nursing the orphaned children. It's nice to see the good come out in people in the face of adversity.

    I'm sorry to hear about your dad and hope he stays cancer free. No matter how old we are, we want and need our parents with us. It is scary when you hear someone special to you is battling cancer, no matter the type. I remember when Anderson blogged about his surgery. He played it down and said it was nothing to be concerned about, but it didn't feel that way. I was scared and very concerned. Every time he is off I get scared all over again that he's having another surgery or something.

    Have a great Memorial Day with your family. We'll be staying home as well. It's usually still too chilly around here to picnic or anything. TV shopping is usually my celebration. It might actually be cheaper than driving somewhere anyway.

    May 22, 2008 at 6:48 pm |
  16. Bill in Nebraska


    I am sorry to hear about your father as well. My grand father has a very rare form of cancer. In fact he is one of only 145 people alive in the world right now that have this form of cancer. He is getting the best possible care. He however does not want to take the different therapies that there are out there. He figures at 80 he has lived a good long life. Only time will tell on this. They have given him just a couple of years. He is a tough old coot though and I hope we have him for a lot more years to come. I wish the same for you and your father as well. Just love every minute you have with your father. Take lots of picture and video.

    As for China, Holy cow... That is just amazing that a woman would just do that. I would think it would be very difficult to do for more than one or two babies. But yes it does make one realize that we all need help once in a while. It is also great to see that the orphaned children will be finding loving homes.

    Though it is not the same, I did live through the 7.2 earthquake that rocked L.A. back in the early 70's. My bed was moving all over the room. It was very scary but because of it I now know what to do in the event something like that happens again.

    OZ, R&R, Ahhh Home Sweet Home... If I were to say where I wish I could be to relax it would have to be Seattle. I loved there for 20 years or so and it is the best place in the world. I will say though that Lorie Ann is close. The Santa Ynez Valley is stunning.

    Have a great weekend and enjoy your time with your family, that is what I will be doing right here in Omaha.

    May 22, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  17. Kathy S

    The best way to find the best R&R is to be with those old friends who make you laugh until you cry.

    When you laugh so hard that you have to ask them to stop talking!

    May 22, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  18. Melissa

    Because China is not a sue happy country yet, it could only happen there. If someone did that in this country, lawsuits would be flying that their child was fed someone's else's breast milk without permission and now their child might have caught an unknown disease. I just hope China doesn't adopt all of our Western thoughts because that type of humanity will end.

    May 22, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  19. Vilmarie


    Sorry to hear about your family's cancer related tragedies. I can't even begin to imagine how you have remained so strong. Wishing you many, many blessings today and in the future.


    May 22, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  20. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    It's nice to hear a little uplifting stories come out of the tragedy in China. So much sadness and illness in this world makes you realize we are all in this together and need each other's support and help at all times. You're right about caregivers too. They are angels on earth.
    As for Memorial Day R&R? There's no place like home. But I think I might be a bit biased in my views. My home turf is the beautiful wine country of the Santa Ynez Valley and the beach down the road is Santa Barbara. Yes, there's "No place like home." And I didn't even have to click my ruby slippers or travel to OZ to realize THAT!
    Happy Memorial Weekend to all.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    May 22, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  21. Alexander

    Hearing about the mother in China is heartening. I am also glad to understand that many of these orphans may find loving homes. I am sorry to hear about your father, Erica, and I hope he is doing well, sincerely. Cancer is a pervasive element in a lot of people's lives. Hopefully, treatments can continue to improve to help and perhaps cure different form of cancer. Again, sorry to hear about your situation, and I sincerely hope your father is doing well.

    May 22, 2008 at 5:54 pm |

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