Until December 22nd 2017 neither Donnchadh nor I had heard of ‘germ cell cancer’, so it came as a huge shock when the doctor at the Whittington Hospital shared his diagnosis. You just don’t expect a cancer diagnosis at 27 and finding out that someone you love has cancer puts you in a club you never wanted to join. Some of you might have been part of that club at some stage or other.
And I call it a ‘club’ because for all of the cruel randomness of cancer, the disease is extremely consistent. There’s the bald head, the cancer support wristbands, chemotherapy for many (radiation for others), and the familiar expressions: metastases, remission, cure.
It’s not a particularly fun club to be part of, but what surprised us both was how easy it is to find the positives also. It’s true that there is always someone who is going through the same, if not a much harder experience than you; that has certainly been Donnchadh's outlook, and one I’ve come to share also.
Most importantly, we're extremely lucky that the prognoses of many germ cell cancers have improved exponentially over the past few decades. Thanks to the discovery of a vital drug called cisplatin in the 1960s, cure rates have improved by about 30% over the past four decades.
Testicular (or extragonadal germ cell cancer, in Donnchadh's case), is now one of the most curable cancers; a reassuring example of how far research has come, as well as a reminder of how much it has yet to do, to improve the cure rates for many other cancers.
On the 13th October we'll be joining Donnchadh's aunt Deidre and work boss, Bel, to take on the Royal Parks Half Marathon in aid of Cancer Research UK. There are varying degrees of ability in the team: personally, I've never run further than 10km. Donnchadh has slightly more experience having ran a Half Marathon once before... while I'm told the other two are seasoned athletes!
We'd be extremely grateful if you could donate even the smallest of amounts to help us try to hit our joint target of £2,500. Thank you for reading to the bottom!!! xxx