I've seen many images like this circulated
Don't get me wrong, cancer is a horriffic thing that I would never wish on anyone, but I don't understand why having it (and getting treated for it) would make someone brave or heroic. Heroes are people who help others and help others like those who develop treatment and cures for deadly diseases or firefighters who risk their lives to save others. And while going through chemo and radiation is undoubtedly a grueling experience, when the only alternative is dying, it's hard to call it "brave" in any way. And contrary to popular belief, cancer doesn't let you die a peaceful and quiet death; it can cause you all the agony that chemo and radiation does and more. So why do we use this kind of rhetoric.
Most Helpful Girl
it's easier for people to anthropomorphize their illness. i'm battling cancer. i'm fighting depression. i'm going to beat my addiction. that's much easier than thinking about cancer, depression, addiction on a biological level and realizing that you really have no control over what happens to you at all.1
Most Helpful Guy
Personally, I agree with you.
The same holds for sports "heros." In what way is a grown man, running around in tights, playing a children's game, a hero?
A hero is someone who voluntarily risks something - usually their life - for a greater purpose. Like this guy. Arland Dean Williams Jr. (September 23, 1935 – January 13, 1982) was a passenger aboard Air Florida Flight 90, which crashed on take-off in Washington, D. C., on January 13, 1982, killing 78 people. One of just six people to survive the crash, he helped the other five escape the sinking plane before succumbing to his injuries. In the words of a clergyman, "His heroism was not rash. Aware that his own strength was fading, he deliberately handed hope to someone else, and he did so repeatedly. On that cold and tragic day, Arland D. Williams Jr. exemplified one of the best attributes of human nature, specifically that some people are capable of doing anything for total strangers."
The 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River at the crash site was renamed in his honor.1