Today is world cancer day, a day uniting the world’s population in the fight against all types of cancer. The tagline this year is ‘We Can. I Can’ and encourages everyone in the world to get involved and take their part in reducing cancer globally.
I think Dame Helen Mirren in Calendar Girls described the importance of fighting against cancer much better than I can…
‘I want to raise money in memory of a man I loved, and to do that I’m prepared to take me clothes off for a WI calendar… because there are some things more important than council approval. And if it means that we get closer to killing off this shitty, cheating, sly, conniving bloody disease that cancer is, oh God, I tell you, I’d run round Skipton market naked, smeared in plum jam, wearing nothing but a knitted tea cosy on me head and singing ‘Jerusalem’.- Annie (Calendar Girls)’
Cancer is the most horrific illness, it steals the lives of those who have it and I’ve watched it continue to take the lives of those left to survive the loss of a loved one. It’s been many years since our family was sadly struck by cancer, but years later the impact is still there. They say that things get better, and in so many ways they really do. The sadness and feelings of loss are still there, as with the loss of any loved one, but they do feel less like they are at the centre of your mind all of the time. There is more space in your head to remember the happiness you shared with that person rather than focus on the sadness and illness.
But you are left with the sad memories and I think it is so important to remember this. Sometimes you can slip into thinking that everyone must be fine now, as everything happened such a long time ago, but the effects of cancer still exist many years later. So please stop and think about people who may have those difficult days and need a little extra thought and comfort.
Cancer can leave you with sad and painful memories, but it can also rob you of the memories and moments you were expecting to have with that person. The landmark moments in your life, where you wish they were with you or the gatherings and celebrations that feel a little emptier.
This world cancer day I will be uniting with the people who have suffered and beaten and survived cancer, the families who have suffered great loss and will find a way continue to live with the memories of their wonderful loved one, everyone who is fighting the battle against this shitty, cheating, sly, conniving bloody disease and all those who are waging a war against it through fundraising, research and supporting others.
This blog is dedicated to my Uncle Gerard and Granddads Jack and Tom; whose memory is always with me, guiding me through life; and to my wonderfully strong and resilient family who I would be completely lost without, especially my Mum, sister and Aunties (the strongest women I know).