Cancer – everyone hates hearing that word, right? For years it’s something that has hit people around me.
You hear about people to went to school with, their parents or relatives being diagnosed. Then there comes a time when it happens to your own. You’re aware that down the family history some people have suffered from it, some best it and some didn’t. But it doesn’t mean they didn’t fight it.
The fact that there’s over 200 cancers in the world makes this planet a very, very scary place to be. Cancer is happening right now. We ask ourselves why such an evil disease exists. The answer? I wish there was a valid one.
These things don’t just happen in films
Have you ever seen My Sister’s Keeper? I cried at that film, it’s so sad. However, I never really took into consideration how I would feel if someone close to me was diagnosed with cancer. That was until my uncle heard his likely diagnosis of cancer.
At the time they thought it was lymphoma. There was so much optimism to fight it as it’s a common type of cancer and the treatment would help. Sadly, this wasn’t the case. You know how everyone’s body is different? Well, my uncle’s body was hit harder by cancer than we thought. And it wasn’t only the physical aspects that changed. His actual diagnosis was neuroendocrine tumours.
Neuroendocrine? That’s the brain? Well, ‘neuro’ does relate to the nervous system. The reason why we hadn’t heard anything about this type of cancer before is because it’s a rare type. Me and mum went to ring each other at the same time pretending to one another that each of us weren’t worrying. But that wasn’t the truth. My heart was pounding with wonder and my mum was doing that thing where you’re trying to hold it together for someone.
What are neuroendocrine tumours?
Neuroendocrine cells are in the majority of organs in our body and have usually spread before they’re found. All of this information was a lot to take in but I couldn’t just let go of the feeling of hope I was holding onto.
If anything, I hoped for those around be to be stronger, and for me to be just as strong for them.
It’s one of the most difficult things to do when all you want to do is break down and cry – and several times you end up doing so.
Heartache is something that can tear you apart – especially seeing two people married for 40 years come to the end of their lives together.
The person who had the greatest amount of strength throughout all of this was uncle Dom. Knowing how concerned he used to be if I had the slightest of headaches to a severe migraine, he didn’t think it was fair to suffer pain. I can’t even imagine the amount of pain he was in. But he was still so invested in hearing about how we were and what we’ve been up to.
Keeping spirits high is an important thing to do during these times
Emotions can be very high. You’ve got to try your best to understand what someone’s going through. Sometimes, being there is all you can do.
As much as I would’ve loved for uncle Dom to have been there watching us run at the Race for Life event in Manchester, I hoped he was looking over me and Danny on the day. I told him I was doing the run for him so that’s what I had to do.
As soon as I heard the word ‘cancer’, alarm bells rang and I said, “I’m gonna look for a run with Cancer Research UK”.
It happened to be that, Race for Life was taking place on Sunday 14th July – the day that marked 40 years of marriage for my auntie and uncle. I can’t bring into so many words how I felt during that day. It was difficult for sure.
There are audio clips that you listen to before the race begins. Of course, tears were strolling down my face and I wasn’t the only one. Danny has been with me through every emotion. But when he had tears I wondered if I’d be able to do it. I stayed determined because I knew that the hardest part hadn’t hit me yet.
Heading towards the finish line
The part I was kinda dreading the most was approaching the finish line. And it was even more than I imagined it to be. As soon as I seen ‘FINISH’ in the distance, that was it. I ran faster and stayed focused, looking straight ahead.
When I reached the finish line I was shaking, not because of the energy used to participate in the race, it was all of the emotion I was holding inside in order to complete the race. Family cheered and I think the best reaction that got me was my dad’s proud expression on his face.
My auntie came looking for me and I was heading in her direction to run up to her. That moment was what it was all about. The huge hug from her was as if it was just us two in that moment in time. I felt her pain. But I also felt so much love. The hug had enough power to be from my auntie and uncle together.
Another date to remember
Uncle Dom’s birthday is coming up next month and being the organised person I am, I already bought his birthday card before he passed away. I’ll think of something special to commentate the day. I’m so pleased and amazed that we have reached £1,100 in our fundraising for Cancer Research UK.
I feel like it’s all over and I need to be doing something else. Maybe the series of blog posts I’ve written will help to raise awareness. I really hope they do.
Cancer might take our loved ones but it’ll never take the memories.
I’d like to thank Rosie at Race for Life, for being so understanding and helping to support me with raising awareness of uncle Dom’s story. For information on where to find your nearest Race for Life visit: https://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org