At the end of 2012 my sister found cancer in her throat and lymph glands. She was 28 weeks pregnant at the time and the diagnosis came so completely from the blue that most of us lurched around muttering 'how the fuck did that happen?' She's not a smoker, she leads a healthy lifestyle and plus, she was 32 and about to have a baby. It wasn't fair.
We are not a family that talk about feelings much and we definitely don't wallow, so we all got on with being supportive in our own ways. Variously those ways were practical which means that we gave her things and sent her messages and if she was close enough we patted her on the head and didn't mention the ridiculous weight loss and all our unspoken fears. Our friends and the wider community were amazing and threw their support behind her, her husband and the baby that had to come out at 30 weeks so that treatment could begin. That little girl is now the chubbiest, cheekiest one year old you ever did see. My sister is now cancer free.
But she did it tough. She doesn't bitch much (that's my domain) and she's never said 'Why me?'. Mainly because she accepted that sometimes the universe is just an arse and even if you are the second healthiest child out of six, sometimes things go wrong.
And so, in looking for something practical to do, I decided to join the CanToo program and raise money for Cure Cancer. Throat and lymphatic cancers aren't sexy cancers, they don't have heaps of charities set up in their names and CanToo is an initiative of Cure Cancer which funds research into all types of cancer. They've been going for a long time and some of what they have funded in the past is now used as standard practice in hospitals across the world when treating cancers. (This isn't a sponsored post by the way you cynical ones out there, this is just something I support.)
Which means I had to run 9 kilometres and raise $800. I could do that. Running is obviously way harder than chemoradiation therapy so it felt like I was doing SOMETHING useful.
Since people were being generous and I ended up with over $1000 quite quickly, I said if I got to $5000 before I did my 9 kilometres I'd run a half marathon this year. Well I got to almost $6,000 and now, today, I am starting training for the half marathon.
Actually an ultra-half. That's an extra 2 kilometres which means in May I'm running 23 kilometres along the Great Ocean Road. I hope all of you sadistic generous bastards who call yourself my friends are perfectly happy with yourselves. I'm dreading it. Even with my new running watch which makes me look the part.
However, just yesterday I found out one of our closest friends, who was battling cancer about the same time as my sister and who also ended the year on a high having kicked cancer's butt, has been dealt a stealth blow and has found that her cancer is back.
You know something -
This year's ultra-half marathon is dedicated to the young, the gorgeous Mrs D.
And then that is it. You listening friends and family? No more cancer. Because
I intend 100% to retire after this run. So,if you'd like to donate to this insanity and the end of cancer SOONEST, click HERE.
And thank you because every dollar counts and I really am hoping that this year, this year, could be the year that sees the breakthrough which makes cancer something future generations will only know about through history books.