I am struggling how to start this post off. I have lost count of the amount of times that I have started, and deleted what I have written. It’s always the way when you are trying to address something close to your heart, especially when you are going to share a little bit of your soul. We all have words we hate, that when we hear them have a ‘nails down the blackboard’ affect on us. Mine is Cancer. To me its a swear word, the most heinous of words to ever be said, yet it seems that more and more of us are hearing this word from the mouths of our nearest and dearest. I remember a time, when I was about 6 or 7 that the worst C word you could use was calling someone a Cow. I have very vivid memories of some young boy in my class calling me this, and the tears that I shed because of his hurtful words. If only this was the most hurtful word I would have ever heard…… Life would be so different.
It seems today that there is not one of us who isn’t touched by Cancer. We all know someone, or are someone, who is fighting Cancer or, worst still, has lost their battle to it. It seems that every other advert on the TV/Social Media/Internet is a charity calling us to arms, asking for donations so they can try and find a cure or deliver palliative care to those fighting their last fight, but there is only so far that my bank balance will stretch. I take my hats off to the palliative care staff. This is not a job I could do. Seeing people, everyday at their worst or dealing with the worst situations in life. It was these brave souls which allowed my Gran to pass at home, giving her her final wish, and allowing us to say goodbye in familiar surroundings.
There is only one thing which is worse than Cancer, and that is a child with cancer, or a child with any life limiting condition. I have had the greatest honour to meet some children who have suffered with some life limiting conditions such as Cancer through the local charity which works with my son who has Autism, but I have also had to hear that these children have lost their fights. This is something which should not happen. We are in 2017, this should not be something young children who are yet to start experiencing the world should be faced with!! No mother or father should outlive their children.
Being a Mum myself, I was desperate to try and find someway I could help. Something meaningful I could do….. But I am only one person right, what difference can I make….. Well, you can make one HELL of a difference. As I said above, there is only so far my bank balance will go, and donating old clothes just wasn’t doing it for me, although this is also very important and you should never ever stop doing this, I just wanted to do more. Back in March 2014 I added myself to the Bone Marrow Donation Register. Gone are the days of painful surgery to donate Bone Marrow, it can all be done by donating blood if you are found to be a match. I donate blood when I can (I HATE needles, but the staff are just outstanding and you can get numbing cream if you let them know before hand, but honestly stubbing your toe hurts worse than giving blood, which is tis but a scratch, and then the pain is gone) and signing up to the NHS British Bone Marrow Registry is done when you go and donate blood, as long as you are between the ages of 17-40. You get a groovy little card in your wallet, and thats all you need to do, until you get the call that you have been found as a match to someone.
This wasn’t enough though, I wanted…. No I NEEDED to do more. I mean come on, a couple of pints a year is just not enough. There are other charities that you can link into like Anthony Nolan who are dedicated to matching up potential donors and working to find a cure for bone cancer. Amazing right? To become a potential donor all you need to do is contact them for a kit, swab your cheek, send it back to them and they do the rest….. I mean how hard is that?? Alas my age was against me as Anthony Nolan will only let you register if you are between 17 and 30 years of age. I spent years thinking that I was doing all I could by giving blood and being on the registry, until someone on my facebook posted up about DKMS. Like Anthony Nolan their key mission is to register donors and help find suitable matches. The concept is the same, get a kit, swab, they do the rest. Bonus for me is they take people from 18 until the age of 55 years old. GET IN, this time I qualify. I contacted them right away on line and a few days later my swab package turned up. No hassle or fuss!
You get two swabs and pretty clear instructions about what they need yo to do. Follow these and swab the inside of your cheek, let the swabs dry for 5 mins and then package them up as directed. Pop this into the post box and BOOM, you are done. Wham, Bam, Thank you Mam. You could possibly become a life saver.
World Cancer Day is Saturday 4th February, so why don’t you do something amazing and reach out to DKMS and register yourself as a possible lifesaver? Even better do this AND find out where your next opportunity to donate blood is and sign up for that too! These things cost nothing, you don’t have to lug heavy bags of stuff to a charity shop, just sit and let everyone else do the hard work. What could be better huh? Reward yourself afterwards with an amazing cuppa tea, because you did something amazing that could change someones life. Don’t wait, because time doesn’t wait and your actions now could save a life NOW. Your actions could save a family. Your actions could make the day for someone who has just received some of the worst news they could ever have received. One day someones actions could save YOUR life or the life of someone you love and wouldn’t you have wanted someone to do something as simple as this…….
I’m going to end it here folks, as I could go on and on and on…. So until next time,