A portrait of Anne drawn by her eight-year-old son.
Meet Anne, aka Just a Mum with Trainers, who is taking on the 2018 London Marathon for Sue Ryder. She’ll be blogging about how her training is going on a fortnightly basis, sharing her do’s and don’ts – and giving you an ‘inside view’ of what it’s like to be part of Team Incredible. Here, she explains the motivation behind her fundraising and reflects on how terminal illnesses such as cancer touch all our lives.
According to my training programme, yesterday was a ‘rest day’… Who are they kidding?!
I painted the shed, cycled with the children, made various meals, cleaned the house, met friends for a walk in Richmond Park, and even managed to persuade the eight year old that it wasn’t a good idea to bring home the branch of a tree that looked like a vicious medieval torture instrument!
But it provided a good time to shift the focus from running to the reasons for doing this: raising funds for an amazing charity.
My family’s particular experience with Sue Ryder was based on palliative (end of life) care for cancer. I witnessed the kindness and compassion provided by the Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, where my father spent the final few weeks of his life.
The organisation supports patients and families through all sorts of illnesses, of course, but for the purpose of today’s blog, I wanted to share a few facts and thoughts on the disease I experienced: cancer.
“Cancer changes families forever”
We all know people whose lives have been broken by cancer.
Their stories are too personal; too raw to put into just a few words: children left without parents at time when their Mum or Dad is their entire world; grandchildren left without adored grandparents; siblings left without siblings who were also their best friends; people who have only ever known one true love, a lifetime companion, and have that taken away from them.
Then there are those whose illness was swift and hopeless, for whom their loved ones didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, or cling on to a hope of recovery. Great voids are left – gaps that will never be filled – and families changed forever.
“There is hope, and we must hold onto this”
Often people are said to have lost their lives after a ‘brave battle with cancer’. This may be the case for many, but ‘battling’ seems to give the impression of choice, of a few different outcomes.
For some, I don’t think there is much choice once the disease has truly taken hold. It is brutal and ravaging; it is indiscriminate and undiscerning; it destroys once-fit bodies and sharp minds, and breaks hearts.
And we wonder: why, when we live our lives digitally, when we can create robots to do our jobs, haven’t we yet found a cure for this disease?
The truth is, we have – almost. Of every person diagnosed with cancer today, half will survive the disease. This is the combined result of better therapies, drug research, earlier diagnosis and fewer people smoking.
Your chances of a healthy outcome also depend on which type of cancer you have: the ten-year survival rate for breast cancer has increased from 40% to 78%, and for testicular cancer from 69% to 98%.
This is incredible, and also comes down to better education, support and understanding.
There is hope, and we must hold onto this.
How you can help
Collectively, we can help people going through the cancer journey by supporting them, providing them with care and helping them cope with whatever outcomes they face.
Supporting Sue Ryder is a fantastic way to do this. I hope you don’t mind, but this seems like a good time to get my begging bowl out…This year, please help this amazing charity give hope to others in their darkest times by giving what you can or getting involved in an event.
I will be eternally grateful.
Donate to Anne’s JustGiving page
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This blog post was originally published at http://justamumwithtrainers.wordpress.com.