For people like me, and the other 28 million living with cancer, people like Steve Jobs are incredible role models. When I was undergoing chemotherapy three years ago, I was often tempted to think “why me?” But then I asked myself, “Why Steve Jobs? Why Lance Armstrong?” And I reflected on the remarkable things that they went on to achieve after their treatment. Their inspirational example helped me more than I can say.
Steve Jobs chooses not to talk about his cancer. He prefers to focus on his work. We should respect his choice.
When someone is not well, the last thing they need is a lot of people making a fuss about it. And if someone chooses to keep their health matters to themselves, their wishes should be respected. No one has a right to know about anyone else’s medical condition.
Discussing someone’s health status in public, and speculating about their prognosis is disrespectful, and unnecessarily negative.
When I got sick and underwent chemo, I was fortunate in that I was able to continue my day job, managing a small business. What made this possible for me was the strength, positive thinking and encouragement of my family, friends and colleagues around me, who were open-minded enough to focus on what I could do, rather than on what I could not.
None of us are immune from occasional sickness. One in six people globally will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their life. (One in three in the US.) All of us need to be given the space to get well, in our own way, and with the help of qualified medical professionals.
If you know someone who is living with cancer, the best way to help them is to focus on the positives, give them the space to tell you as much or as little as they choose, and be open minded about what they are able to achieve.
2011 promises to be another amazing year for Apple. Let’s focus on that and and leave the oncology to the professionals.