“Sometimes, life hands you a chance. It hands you something amazing, you almost think it’s a dream, but no matter how much you pinch yourself, you don’t wake up. It’s moments like those that make life really worth living, because no matter how hard times get, there are always those miracle moments that lift you back on your feet”. (unknown author)
I had no idea earlier yesterday (let alone last year) that I would be having one of those moments in the form of a big bear hug from Matthew Wright after he asked me along to meet him and Ben Richards on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff yesterday morning!
Err why you might ask? Well Matthew has been a great support and generously wrote some lovely words about the book I have just finished which is getting published next year about bowel cancer. It’s currently with the publisher undergoing some enthusiastic editing, and no doubt will be the subject of a future blog, so park that thought for a while!
Matthew’s Dad died of bowel cancer after yet another misdiagnosis and he has turned his considerable charm and energy to do whatever he can to raise awareness of bowel cancer, supporting The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK. Yesterday’s show was a towering example and included so many references to bowel cancer you could have been mistaken for thinking you were watching a public awareness film; albeit a much more entertaining and attractive version!
The special guest on the panel was Ben Richards; the Actor who has starred in Footballers Wives, Holby City, The Bill and currently Dolly Parton’s musical 9 to 5. A recent bowel cancer survivor and now the Ambassador of Bowel Cancer UK, he is doing so much to turn his experiences into something positive as well. You could hear the sounds of stereotypes debunking noisily all over the studio floor when Ben told his story. “But you look so good, so YOUNG, so fit, so handsome” (ok I added the last one in, but I know you will agree).
Sadly those of us who huddle together for warmth and comfort on twitter know only too well that Ben Richards is not too young or an isolated case. He has been very active in the Never2Young campaign which I was also a part of when Bowel Cancer UK launched it in March to highlight that this disease is growing in the under 50’s. http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/never-too-young/ (You may mock, but the ONLY area where I am still considered young is bowel cancer.. and I am milking it for all I am worth. A girl women’s got to fish for compliments where she can these days).
Anyway the serious point is it is NOT rare and the stats and late diagnosis are truly shocking and it makes me angry to my core. I could fill a page on stats, but nothing will hit you in the gut as much as hearing the stories of our dear friends; these 3 beautiful girls. They have all died of bowel cancer since the launch of the campaign;
Laura (@paperdollybird) died just 4 weeks after her wedding at the age of 31 in March, after being told nearly two years previously that she was too young for bowel cancer
Hannah (@sitemanagergal) died 12 days ago at the age of 30; 4 weeks after bowel cancer came back in her brain and kidneys. She was originally diagnosed with bowel cancer aged just 27.
Katie (@katiescarb) a former national junior ice skating champion and mother of 2 young children died just last week aged 32 after finally running out of treatment options
All utterly brilliant, dearly loved and much mourned. Appalling, heart breaking and TOTALLY AVOIDABLE. We MUST all do more to stop this happening to yet more families. I don’t have much of a mega phone, but yesterday Matthew Wright did and we owe him and Ben Richards an enormous thank you. Amongst all this heartache, lives are being saved.
Anyway, I will finally finish this blog (It’s been a while so I figured you would put up with me going on a little bit longer) by dragging your attention up the body from bums to boobs. My Mum, my daughter Lois, my cousins Rebecca and Drusilla and my old pins are doing the Moonwalk; all 26.4 moonlit miles of it tomorrow from midnight, in our bras. No I haven’t trained. And don’t ask for a picture yet, because I still haven’t decorated my bra, but rest assured giraffes and bananas will be used. My Aunty Jane has sent a bulk assignment of goodies in the post today. So yes you will be rewarded for your patience next week. In the meantime, if you feel like supporting us from the inside of your wallet, here is the link; http://www.walkthewalkfundraising.org/banana_giraffes
We are walking to help raise money for not only Breast Cancer charities, but also The Penny Brohn Cancer Care Centre, a magical place of peace and a considerable source of strength to me and countless others dealing with the emotional fallout of cancer.
Thank you truly for your continued support x