It goes without saying that Cancer Research are an incredible charity; the work they do literally saves lives.
Cancer Research are continually discovering new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Did you know that in the 1970s, the 10-year survival rate was as low as one in four? Today, thanks to Cancer Research, half of people diagnosed will survive for 10 years or more. They are committed to ‘beating cancer sooner’ and whilst they work towards that goal they also develop evidence-based policy to inform Government decisions related to cancer and research. All of which they do without any government funding! Incredible. So given my experience with #FUCancer I wanted to share my story beyond the confines of wordpress. Today, I was invited to Cancer Research’s Race For Life at Hopetoun House to do exactly that.
After signing up for the 5k I recruited a team of friends to unite as Team #FUCancer to run, march, skip and dance the route together. At the start of the day I was welcomed on stage by Heart FM’s Paul Harper to give a brief overview of what my family and I had endured in the past year. The crowd were very supportive but I think the warm reception was down to Parsnip being on stage. That dog loves the limelight! It was inspiring to see an army of women, children and dogs dressed in pink gathered for the same goal: beat cancer! I had the huge honour of starting the race.
As I ran around the course I found myself casting back to this time last year when I was in the midst of treatment and beginning to experience the menopause. It was tough. I have come to realise I am reminising a lot at the moment. I know they say you shouldn’t look back but I find it a huge motivator in enthusing me to move forward. So that is exactly what I did, I ran towards the finish line. I owe a huge amount to Cancer Research and today was only a small part of how I intend to show my gratitude. It was privilege to signal the start of the race and I am so proud to have been a part of it along with my friends.
I initially began writing this blog to save myself the laborious task of repetition and more importantly keep the facts straight. It is wild how quickly a single piece of information being passed on through several links can become distorted. There was no poetic license needed to compose my blogs. What you read is the truth.
I have come to depend on this safe space to be my voice. A space where I can share my experience as well as my thoughts, fears and feelings. Many people who have taken the time to read my entries have admitted they now have a better insight to what life with cancer is like.
I know life will never be the same for me. I have accepted that as of the 8th April 2014 everything has changed. Relationships, outlooks, motivations have all shifted in some way. I have always viewed life as being like a jigsaw puzzle; everyone has numerous pieces which click together to make a complete picture. Work, family, friends, hobbies, the love of a significant other! At times if ever I was down it would be because a piece was missing or something just didn’t fit quite right. Now, however it feels like I am starting my puzzle from scratch because the picture has changed completely. All my puzzle pieces are upside down and jumbled in the box. I have identified my corner pieces but the remaining 996 will take some time to piece together.
One of the pieces in my puzzle is how I am going to give something back to say thank you, to show my gratitude for being one of the lucky ones and more importantly support the people who supported me. In light of this I am in the early stages of hosting a ‘STICK IT to Cancer’ hockey festival & quiz night to raise funds for two incredible charities.
The first is Maggie’s who have provided a wealth of support to my family and I. Maggie’s have been helping me navigate my way through the emotional aftermath of cancer. They have offered advice on every puzzle piece from coping mechanisms to exercise and how to look good. They have become a new safe place out with this virtual forum.
The second charity is an easy choice for obvious reasons: Cancer Research. It’s as simple as it sounds. Without the research I wouldn’t have received the vital treatment which ultimately saved my life.
More details on the ‘STICK IT to Cancer’ hockey festival to follow in due course. Watch this space!
Another new piece, inspired by my experience, is how I can share my story so people can learn from it. The past six months has allowed me to realise how ignorant I was about cancer. Even in my initial diagnosis I remember asking ‘so, it’ll be a few tough months?’ Which was quickly corrected with ‘it’ll be a tough few years.’ Even following treatment I was of the opinion that being in remission meant I was over it, beyond it, it was behind me. But that’s simply not the case. I am still unsure how exactly I will fulfil this piece in the puzzle but I have a feeling this blog is a good starting point.
My jigsaw is far from complete but as I said I have the most important corner pieces already in place and that is my family and friends. Thank you for being so supportive, reliable and making me feel so loved!