Race for Life
Today I joined thousands of other women taking part in the 5k race for life in Cardiff. We were of all ages from babies in slings and pushchairs, to the eldest being 93 in a wheelchair being pushed by family. Some of us walked, some jogged, some ran and some did it in fancy dress. All of us were doing it for someone, the messages on the backs of all the tee-shirts were testament to that.
What did make me think was the amount of people who had more than 2 names on their backs. I’m not sure why I am surprised there were 3 women in our group who had overcome cancer and I know at least 7 other friends or family members who have been affected by cancer. It truly does seem to be the disease of our generation – I don’t mean that only our generation gets it, just that we seem to be the one watching our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, friends and children fighting, some winning and unfortunately some loosing to it.
Now I have not had cancer, so don’t know what hell that must be or know how I would react to being given that sort of news. All I know is how it felt to be told that my dad had cancer. He was diagnosed in 2000 and won against his cancer once, but it came back 2 ½ years later. The second time although he fought so hard it just wouldn’t go away and for a while we thought he would be able to live with it, however the cancer had other ideas. He finally lost the battle in 2005.
However, what does it mean to be a family member of a person with cancer – to watch them become so ill and struggle, not always with the disease but the medications given to fight it. To watch our loved ones loose hair, weight, suffer awful side effects and be in hospital with tubes and drips. Never to know how much time they have but never want to talk about our fears as we must stay strong and help them through. After all they actually have the disease, they are the ones actually fighting. For me it was like the world had shifted on its axis. Nothing felt safe anymore, how could I trust a world that could let this happen.
My dad was my rock, a good guy, he didn’t smoke, drink, he exercised fairly regularly not so much in recent years but previously had run marathons for charity. He worked hard in a job that he didn’t really like to earn money for us, so that we could have a good life. He did his job well and with care to ensure that those he worked for got the best job they could. His family were important to him and he always made me feel loved and special. I always knew that he would do anything he could to help me. Now don’t get me wrong he wasn’t a saint but he didn’t hurt anyone or do anything awful in this world. It didn’t make sense that so many nasty pieces of work, who were doing such horrible things, could still be well and healthy. It just didn’t seem fair, I wanted my dad to live forever and until his diagnosis I thought he would.
Today we told cancer we were coming to get it on our tee-shirts, we were raising money and awareness which helps with research, and that research is developing new treatments, combinations of medications and surgeries. All of which are hopefully more successful than past options and give people more chance to come out the other side. However we could just give money, but there is something about coming together in the name of one cause that makes you feel some hope in the society we live in, as long as you didn’t focus on the number of lost loved ones.