Serious blog alert: Me, mother (Iris) and my Sister-In-Law (Clare) are joining this year’s Race for Life to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. We’ve each witnessed first-hand the effects cancer can have on a family with my mum having beaten the illness several times. If it wasn’t for the hard work the team at Cancer Research UK do, she might not be here to walk the 5K with us.
Let’s face it, we all know at least one person who has been directly affected by the C-word. If everyone the three of us knew donated just £1 towards our JustGiving page (excuse the shameless plug) we would be at our £500 target in no time.
But why are we doing it?
- A Personal Experience
Let’s be real for a minute. We’re more likely to be sympathetic to a certain cause if we’ve been through it.
I still remember that phone call the first time my mum was diagnosed with cancer. I was in Halls of Residence at UCLAN in the middle of summer. It was like time stopped and my first thought was ‘mum plus cancer equals death’. The next memory I have was sitting in Barnsley Hospital with her after she had her first operation.
She had a really rare cancer in her inner ear. As a result, Sheffield Teaching Hospital asked her to come in and talk to a group of students to explain her symptoms and let them see inside her ear. The hope was to help prevent cases like this in future. The scary thing is, the morning of her talk she had been to Barnsley Hospital for a check up and they had given her the ‘all clear’.
She is a really nervous driver and was almost tempted not to make the journey to Sheffield because she would have to navigate the motorway and the city centre. Luckily, she was determined to help others that might find themselves in the same situation as her, so she faced her fear and took to the M1.
When she arrived in Sheffield, she was having a quick chat with the consultant who took a look in her ear. Her stomach sank when he said the cancer was back, and showed her the ‘wet, green pool’ of cells in her inner ear. This was just hours after Barnsley Hospital had sent her on her way. Could you imagine what would have happened had she not made that trip to Sheffield? Thankfully, her surgeon there looked after her impeccably. Although another cancer returned a few years later, this time on her kidney, she’s now back to having a full bill of health and living life to the absolute maximum.
I now live in real fear of cancer. My mum and my dad have both had it and Clare’s family also has a history of it. So much so that whenever I get a pain anywhere in my body, I immediately fear the worst. It affected me so much that I had hypnotherapy to help me sleep, because I’d literally like there for hours, convinced I’d be next to have the illness.
- To raise money for Cancer Research UK
Okay, now my life story is complete, this one is fairly obvious. Simply face the facts for a moment.
- There are more than 360,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s nearly 990 every day (2013-2015).
- In males in the UK, there were around 183,000 new cancer cases in 2015.
- In females in the UK, there were around 177,000 new cancer cases in 2015.
- Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer.
- Incidence rates for all cancers combined are projected to rise by 2% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 742 cases per 100,000 people by 2035.
- An estimated 2,273,200 people who had previously been diagnosed with cancer were alive in the UK at the end of 2013.
Statistics taken from Cancer Research UK . Accessed 24/04.
If I can play even the smallest part in contributing towards the prevention or cure of this horrible disease then count me in.
- To reaffirm the importance of spending time with family
I’ve written the answer to this about 10 times and deleted it. I’m not sure if I’m communicating this point in the best way, but don’t judge me.
The Huddersfield 5k Walk for Life takes place the day after my 31st birthday. Usually around birthdays I get all sentimental about getting older; making promises to ‘live every day like it’s my last’ and to ensure I make more time for friends and family. You see, birthdays for me seem to bring about a stark reminder of my own mortality now that I’m getting a little bit older.
If I can do something to remind me to be a bit humbler and to appreciate how lucky I am to be turning 31 as a happy and healthy woman then I really want to do that. Sharing that journey with my mum and sister-in-law will be a real treat. Perhaps I’ll treat myself to a slice of cake at the end.
- To motivate myself to get in shape
Like plenty of women (and men) around the UK, I’m constantly making promises to eat a little better, exercise a little more and look after my body to the very best of my ability. Like plenty of people, I routinely fail at such tasks.
To try and overhaul my bad habits, I’ve joined Slimming World (2.5lbs off in week one – woo hoo) and bought myself some new gym gear, to give me that extra kick up the butt to go to my weekly Les Mills Body Combat, Body Attack and Body Pump sessions – which I do (weirdly) enjoy.
We’ve got a gym at work too, so there’s no excuse not to get on the treadmill on my lunch break and try and build up my stamina to take on the 5k walk (we are going to walk it, not run) because I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I’ve ever jogged 5k. I did 18,000 steps in Vegas on our honeymoon, but it’s a slightly different proposition when you’re sipping on a Fat Tuesday Daiquiri.
- To take part in something as a collective
I watched coverage from the London Marathon and somehow, I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet, let’s take this one step at a time yeah? However, after seeing such public support for the people involved (which included some of my friends… go you guys!) a little part of me thought; ‘I want to be a part of something good.’
If you’d like to spur us on, you can find our shared JustGiving Page here. Every little helps.