Kate Middleton Announces Cancer Diagnosis (and reminds us all to check our humanity)

Kate Middleton Cancer Diagnosis
BBC Studios via AP

Kate Middleton Announces Cancer Diagnosis (and reminds us all to check our humanity)

Normally, when a well-known figure announces a major health battle, it’s met with the usual sympathy, mild surprise, and well-wishes from the public.

Kate Middleton’s very recent announcement of her cancer diagnosis, however, was anything but normal. The revelation came after months of widespread speculation – a virtual manhunt on a global scale, really – as to her whereabouts following a surgery in January.

I admit I am just as guilty as the next person in formulating conspiracy theories. Like a lot of Americans, I could take or leave the Royal Family. But when the rumors started swirling that Kate Middleton was MISSING, they had my attention. I’m a true crime buff, so when someone appears to be pulling a Gone Girl (a Royal, no less!), I am intrigued. And I definitely had the whole “maybe the husband did it” moment, too.

I chuckled when some tabloid suggested she got a botched BBL (a backroom butt lift – am I even allowed to say that here??), as though the Duchess of Wales would ever find herself in such a predicament. Who comes up with this stuff? Still, a plastic surgery snafu of some sort isn’t off the table, I thought. And you did too. We all thought so at some point.

Cancer is probably the one thing we DIDN’T think of when pondering the whereabouts of a seemingly healthy woman in her early 40s.

While the world sensationalized the “disappearance” of a princess- cue the Super Mario theme song – the family was desperately trying to shield their children from learning about their mother’s health condition before the rest of the world did. They merely wanted time to explain the situation to their children in the least traumatic way possible.

They were literally just being good parents, you guys.

Obviously, this could spark a whole conversation about respecting the privacy of public figures, especially when children are involved, but not many of us can relate to that.

Unfortunately, a lot of us can relate to the other part, the cancer part. A lot of us know someone – or ARE someone – who received a cancer diagnosis at some point and was left with the extremely difficult task of breaking the news to their children about it.

I completely understand why this was a priority to her. Cancer is a scary word to a child. It’s a scary word to everyone, really, but to an impressionable and sensitive young child, you might as well just say “mommy has a week to live.”  It’s no wonder Kate Middleton didn’t seem to give a damn what the world was thinking! I’d rather millions of people think I was dead in a ditch somewhere too than let my own child suffer in fear and pain for even one minute.

While the internet’s armchair detectives were scrutinizing images for photoshop fails and publishing all kinds of outlandish theories, most never even bothering to feign concern, Kate Middleton was trying to process the terrifying thought that her children might be left without a mother someday.

And I know what some of you are thinking. Who even cares about the Royals? This isn’t Europe. We can’t exactly relate to the literal future Queen of England. 

But this time, we can. Because cancer doesn’t care about your royal status, or your generational wealth, or the fact that the whole world is watching your every move. And cancer certainly doesn’t care that you are a mother, or that you have young children who need you more than any amount of fame or money.

Cancer can happen to anyone, at any time.

In fact, cancer happened to my sister a few years ago. Like Kate Middleton, my sister was not far into her 40s, a busy mom just trying to keep her family happy, when she was gobsmacked by a devastating diagnosis.

She spent the next two years in a torturous cycle of anxiety and depression, putting on a brave face for her kids every day while secretly fearing for her life, juggling chemotherapy appointments with parent teacher conferences and praying all week long for enough energy to make it to her kids’ weekend sports games.

I looked up to my big sister a lot in my life, but never more than after watching her beat cancer while raising three children.

KateGate might have been entertaining to some, but it should serve as a cautionary tale for all. First and foremost, it’s a reminder to stay on top of your health and go for regular checkups, no matter your age or risk factors. If the future Queen of England can get cancer, anyone can.

And second, in this crazy world of social media conspiracy theories, where unfounded and hurtful rumors spread across the internet like wildfire, check your humanity (along with your sources). Strip away the royal title and Kate Middleton is just another woman with cancer, putting on a brave face for her scared young children. Let’s allow her to do so with dignity. 


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