Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Race for Life 2017 - Our Fight to Beat Cancer for Everyone

In May 2014, my Nan was told that her lung cancer was gone, and that after six gruelling months, she was in remission. To celebrate, my Mum and I signed up for Race for Life 2014, to happen in July, to raise money for a charity that would continue to help people like my Nan. In June, however, my Nan had a seizure. She was rushed to hospital, and after undergoing numerous tests, she was that that she wasn't, actually, in remission, that the cancer had spread to her brain. There was nothing they could do. They gave her six months.

Me and my Mum after completing Race for Life 2014, wearing our medals

So it was with a very different mood that Mum and I took part in Race for Life 2014 on a wet, rainy day in July. It was no longer the celebration we thought it would be. It was hugely emotional. What we were doing, the money we had raised, wouldn't help Nan. She wouldn't make it, she wouldn't win her fight. But still, we did it for her, thinking of her the whole way. It was us sticking up our middle fingers to cancer. It might be taking my Nan, my Mum's mum from us, but we were doing what we could to help stop it taking other people's loved ones from them. We were doing it in the hope that the money we raised would help other people going through what we were, what my Nan was, in the hope that other people would be saved, that eventually, a cure would be found.

Just over nine months after being told she was terminal, in the early hours of Saturday 4th April 2015, Nan died, surrounded by her family. Those nine months of watching her deteriorate are some of the worst of my life. Seeing this fierce, strong woman who was so full of fun and laughter, who I was always in so much awe of, become a shell of herself. The tiredness. How fragile she became, the slightest bump doing so much damage to her body. The lack of  strength that led to her being bed bound. The loss of hand-eye co-ordination as well as loss of strength in her hands, meaning she needed us to feed her, help her drink, help her smoke - the vice she went back to once she knew she was going to die anyway. The loss of memory, forgetting people's names, wasting her strength to ask something she'd already asked. How she remembered wishing me Happy Birthday when she hadn't, and when Mum told her she hadn't, used the very little strength she had to whisper-gasp-sing me Happy Birthday. She died 20 days later.

Later that same year, on Thursday 10th December 2015, bowel cancer took her sister, too. In the following year, on Wednesday 6th July 2016, their brother also died from lung cancer. In the space of 15 months, cancer stole three people from our family. It's been an absolutely heartbreaking few years for us. So much loss. So much grief. So much anger. All because of cancer.

And that's why, on 24th June, Mum and I will, again, be taking part in Race for Life 2017. This time round, we will be doing it in the memory of our loved ones. We'll be doing it for my Nan, who didn't make it. We'll be thinking of her the whole time again, and it will be so much harder. But we'll be doing it in the hope that others will win their fight, that others won't have to experience the grief of losing someone to this terrible, harrowing disease. We will be doing it as a thank you for the care Nan and her siblings received throughout their treatment. This will be our fight to beat cancer for everyone, and it will be even more emotional than the first.

And so I ask if you would mind sponsoring my Mum and I, to raise money for Cancer Research UK, to bring us a few steps closer to ridding the world of a disease that has destroyed so many people's lives. Anything you can spare will be greatly appreciated.

You can donate at our fundraising page here. Thank you so, so much.

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