I don’t think there is a word that inspires more fear, worry and despair in people when they hear it. Whether you’ve experienced it personally or know someone that’s gone through it, it’s probably had an impact on you. 1 in 3 people will get cancer in their lifetime and we hear about it nearly every day; it’s on the telly, the radio, in things we read and in conversations in the street.
However, it isn’t until it takes a hold of someone we know, someone we love, that cancer blossoms and reveals its true, dark and sickly face. A few people in my life have been affected by cancer; my grandad had a form of Leukemia and one of my dad’s best friends had a rare form of bone cancer. Now, of course, this upset me and caused me great pain and hurt, but the diagnosis wasn’t as shocking if only for the fact that they had lived a life, they’d experienced and shared memories and been given the opportunity to grow and see what life had to offer. I wish the same could be said for my best friend.
We’ve known each other for 21 years this year, our birthdays are a week apart and we’ve only ever fallen out once (albeit for a period of years!). I know that he doesn’t like butter and isn’t a particularly big fan of cheese; I know his family, his likes, his dislikes, his mannerisms and sayings. I know him like the brother I never had. So when I learnt a month ago that he had been diagnosed with Leukemia, I was in total disbelief. I immediately called him to make sure he wasn’t taking the piss, evidence of my utter shock. I felt like my world had just been tipped upside down.
It’s still so raw and emotional and I appreciate that I am in no way suffering or experiencing the level of pain that my friend and his family are dealing with but it’s so hard to come to terms with. Ever since I was told about it, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to get my head around it and constantly thinking of things I can do to help him. I’ll be doing something or other later this year to try and raise money for Macmillan or Cancer Research UK but I still feel so frustrated and like I am not doing enough. That was until an idea popped into my head (ironic) and I ran with it.
Chemotherapy. It can do just as much damage as it does good and it has some well-known side-effects. Most noteworthy is that of hair loss. It’s all well and good to say that it’ll grow back, and even if the person knows this, it still doesn’t stop it from being a traumatic thing to go through (although I know that it’s a small price to pay for life-saving treatment). Naturally, my friend isn’t looking forward to the prospect of this happening to himself so I decided to do something to help him in the only way I could think of. I shaved my head. This way, he won’t be on his own for some part of his journey and I know it’s a small gesture, but I didn’t know how else to express how much he means to me. It’ll be a long road for him and everyone who knows him but I know that he’s a fighter and won’t be giving up the fight that easily!
If you can, please donate to Macmillan or Cancer Research UK. The work they do is vitally important in changing people’s lives.
Macmillan – https://www.macmillan.org.uk/donate?gclid=CjwKEAjw8ZzHBRCUwrrV59XinXUSJADSTE5kWGIeBZgPRnbQ7SrR6jfQCRjyO4OsTPzPN6ufPIhtxRoCq9Pw_wcB
Cancer Research UK – https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/donate
My girlfriend (Soph over at Petals of Perfection) has written about her fundraising efforts for Cancer Research UK in memory of her grandad, Den, which you can read about here. If you could donate in any way big or small that would be fantastic, thank you.