April, so the poem goes, is a cruel month, variable and wavering. The daffodil, the harbinger of spring is not only an April flower but a symbol of a commitment to fight cancer. Cancer is a scourge that sweeps away all of our illusions of safety and permanency; it is brutal and indiscriminate. Is it preventable? I am not quite sure that such a claim can be made. We enter this world with genetic predispositions to disease; we are exposed on a daily basis to toxins both in our environment and in the foods we eat; we are human, mortal and vulnerable. Genetics cannot be disputed but they can be modified, transmuted, and outcomes transformed by the choices we make daily.

It is time to change the paradigm. Our society currently operates within a disease model of health, a framework that is reactive. Shifting the focus to health and wellness is a proactive choice; it provides us with power and provides hope for renewal. We can choose to reduce the imprint of our genetics by creating as clean a lifestyle as is possible. We can educate and nurture the incredible health that resides in all of us. We can embrace the creative and brilliant applications that science and technology provide and marry them with an intention based in health promotion.

We have reached a turning point, and for all of the negative that resides in the world: the wars, hysteria and struggles that we humans have concocted, we have also given our energy to projects inspired by a love of humanity, creation and possibility. We create weapons of mass destruction and sign disarmament pacts. Balances and checks. The tide has turned and a new and inspiring generation that has grown up in a world burdened by excessive and thoughtless choices based in greed and personal gain, are now more concerned with community, sustainability and connection. The same holds true for healthcare.

Every day and in every way we choose. We are not perfect, we are human and humane. We can do the best we can and we can change and learn. And so we must. Eat well, move our bodies, reduce stress, choose to make our good choices felt with our wallets so that the impact will be noticed and companies with power will make better choices themselves. We begin everyday in our own homes, with our families, in our towns and communities. We choose to model wellness and find opportunities to support and create healthy bodies and relationships. With this commitment will come prevention at its best and most powerful. Through this commitment will come transformation. We will always be human and vulnerable, but knowledge is a sword and with it we will give ourselves the best possible chance of truly preventing disease. Shift the paradigm and choose health.

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