It’s Drythlon January. I might have mentioned it once or twice – at work, at home, on Twitter. Might have done. Well I’m glad I did. I signed up to do it hoping to raise about 50 quid. And, in the style of all Blue Peter appeals, I hit the target easily and just kept putting it up and up. My current status is £700 raised, with a target of £750. That, if I may say so, is bloody magnificent.
Here’s the thing. How do you know I’m sticking to it? You don’t. You’re trusting me. And that, above all else, has kept me at it. Even on the days when I’d sell my own childen for a brandy, I haven’t had one. That trust is too precious to abuse.
Why am I doing it? Well, we all know cancer is a right bugger – sorry if I’m confusing you with medical terminology. Few of us escape its reach. Family, friends, our own good selves. We all get a taste at some point of the fear of cancer. And it is a word that carries fear. My friend the Wing Commander, an RAF nurse who’d seen it all, was my first encounter. She couldn’t say the word. Always, even now, years later, refers to it as “C.A.”
My own brush with cancer was the day a locum GP rang me with some test results. “You might have liver cancer,” he said breezily. “Don’t look on the internet. You’ll frighten yourself to death!” Too late. I spent the day, and the next few months dealing with the most hideous fear. As it turned out, I had something else (and my own GP was beyond angry that I’d been put through that.) It scarred me though. It took me about 18 months to recover from the fear of death. And I’d be lying if I said that experience hadn’t changed me (and not for the better.)
You’ve just thought “Bloody drama queen,” haven’t you? Don’t blame you BUT what I was feeling seems to be common. Because no matter how many optimistic statistics are quoted about survival rates, to a lot of us, the word “cancer” is still inextricably linked to pain and death.
I spent 2 years nursing someone special through terminal cancer. I was there when she died, in a wonderful hospice that managed her pain and passing with a compassion and dignity that’s bringing tears to my eyes even now as I’m typing. But she suffered. Lots of pain and lots of fear.
Anyway, back to Dryathlon. It’s brilliant. I know about 8 people who are also doing it, so that’s at least £2 thousand raised for Cancer Research UK, so that’s at least £2 thousand closer to getting rid of that fear and pain.
So, go us. And go you. All you lovely people who took it on trust that we’d do what we said we would. It’s nearly over. I’ll stop asking for money and drink the champagne looking at me from the fridge. Cancer Research can get on with all their brilliant work. Excellent. Job done.
> Thank you. Cheers.