I'll be honest, I've been dreading writing this page and putting it off for weeks because it is just so hard to call so much to mind.
In early 2012, a dark and terrifying force, a menacing and malign intruder entered the lives of my family and me: an aggressive breast cancer was the diagnosis my sister Louisa received, aged 35, at a time when she had been just 6 months married and was full of hope about starting a family. The cancer had already spread to her lymph glands and, with the treatment commencing immediately, those hopes of motherhood were the first to be shattered. Overnight, she was now fighting for her life.
Just a few weeks later, my mother Anne at 62 was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer; this was only discovered when a couple of her spine's vertebrae suddenly crumbled, eaten away with the secondary cancer which was also in her liver and other bones. She had been thinking how well she had felt at the start of 2012 and how excited she was about the future since Lou's wedding. Lou's diagnosis and then her own was a nightmare from which she would never awake.
We simply don't have words in our language that adequately convey the utter devastation, the panic, the despair, and the fear that this disease wreaks when it enters our lives that a day earlier seemed so good and full of hope and promise. Sadly, too many of you will know something about this and too many will come to know it in their lives. Currently, the fact is that 1 in 2 people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime. The increase in people getting cancer is also on a steep rise; it seems about to become a 'not if but when' scenario for us all. Donating to Cancer Research UK is a positive and practical act of hope that will one day result in a cure that will end all this heartache and all this loss. For ourselves and for all we love, let's bring that day closer. Donations do make a difference: both Mummy and Lou benefited for a little while from drugs that delayed their final days. For some people, the treatments developed through this research give them extra years beyond their dreams. And, thank God, the number of cancer survivors is on the increase every year. Progress is being made but it takes so much money... My fundraising target is, for me, terrifyingly large; but these donations of course aren't for me, they are for all of us, and for all whom we love and want to see live out their lives and all their potential.
Today is the anniversary of my mum's passing: 26th November 2013. Louisa lived another 9 months until 30th August 2014. She should be celebrating her 42nd birthday on 18th December. My father, who passed away this year from pulmonary fibrosis, faced the shock, fear, and uncertainty of cancer twice in his life (malignant melanoma) and we all shared in those dark and worrying times.
I'm not sorry that this post has little (none) of the joy and celebration in which fundraising efforts are so often launched. The day of the marathon will rightfully be all about that celebration of making a difference to everyone's futures through the act of running (waddling, crawling) in recognition and thanks for people's generous acts of donation. Now is the time to take that action in this sober moment's contemplation of what this is really all about, what we must strive together to achieve for all our sakes' and our children's.
Please sponsor me and donate today as generously as you can at this time. Help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. We will get there. We've just got to run and literally pay our way to it. That's the reality, but one day cancer won't stand a chance - and we will.