So, here’s some bumpf about why you might like to sponsor me for this year’s Race for Life, which I’ll be attempting to run on July 21st. If you want to read all the emotional stuff, carry on reading, but if you want to bypass that and just sponsor me (and be in with a chance of bagging yourself a bespoke papercut), simply click here.
Cancer, as my darling mum would say, is a bastard. And she would know – it killed her on the 15th of May 2002, after starting in her pancreas 14 months earlier and taking control of her (previously very healthy) 53-year-old body.
|Me and mum, a month before she died up at one of our favourite places – Filey Brigg
(where we used to go and scream at the sea).
Mum was one of those people everybody knew. She had a lot of good friends, was warm and kind, liked to live life to the full. Her chosen profession – a counsellor with the NHS – went some way to showing her thoughtful, human-centred nature. She was the kind of mum a lot of my school mates constantly told me they wished for – easy to talk to, fun-loving, patient, understanding. Yes, she could be firm, she could shout and eff and blind in her authentic cockney accent like the best of them. But I couldn’t have wished for a better mum.
|Having a boogie with mum at my sister’s wedding.
Mum had been living with cancer for seven months here.
You wouldn’t know, she held her head high the whole time.
I had just turned 20 when she died, at home, surrounded by people she loved. I was living in Glasgow at the time and made it back home just three hours before she passed away. Others arrived ‘just in time’ – but I reckon she was fairly compos mentis and I like to think she was waiting to see everyone before she slipped off gently in her morphine haze.
After living with a fairly decent quality of life for far longer than her initial three to six month diagnosis, mum went downhill suddenly, literally over a weekend. And with hushed voices that my dad overheard, the doctors murmured that it had spread all over and she didn’t stand a chance.
It took my fiancé’s uncle too, a few years later.
And then, just last summer, it took my fiancé’s uncle’s sister as well. That’s right – my man’s mum; leaving both of us without our mothers.
And I tell you what, and I won’t mince my words – it fucking hurts like hell.
Thousands and thousands and thousands of people get cancer every year. There are thousands and thousands of survivors enjoying a decent quality of life after treatment. There are all sorts of means of support out there, lots of awareness-raising going on, some amazing drug trials taking place (my mum took part in one, in fact), some fantastic treatments and plenty of truly wonderful individuals who’ve made it their life’s work to help those with this crappy disease; many more who are working their butts off to bash the life out of cancer and uncover a cure. To stop it hurting like hell.
But it’s not enough.
Now I’ve always been cynical about fundraising for cancer. Stopped in the street by charity collectors, I would walk away, mumbling with tear-filled eyes “You’ve already taken my mum, what else can I give you?”
But that’s a bit selfish, right? That sort of attitude, as time and gradual healing have taught me, will get us nowhere.
I myst admit I’ve been grabbed by the ads I’ve seen on telly lately for Cancer Research UK. ‘Cancer – we’re coming to get you’. Well, it’s got some balls, some feist about it – just like mum, uncle Nobby and Julie all had. Their young lives all snuffed out by this utter bastard of a disease.
Which us why this year, inspired by some very motivated, wonderful people, I’m gonna do my bit to help kick cancer’s rear end.
I’m not a runner by any stretch of the imagination, so the decision to sign up to run Race for Life was a bit of a hand-wringer. But at the end of the day, common sense has prevailed, and I’m gonna go for it. Training, iPhone apps, the lot… Hell, I might even do it in a silly wig if my arm gets twisted far enough.
This is me doing my tiny little bit to kick cancer’s ass. To help with research, treatment, support; to help ensure that folk in the future don’t have to go through the absolute hell of losing people who mean the world to them.
So here’s the deal.
For every £1 you sponsor me, I will write your name down on a little piece of paper. £2 you get two pieces of paper, £5 you get five pieces. Got it?
You must make sure you leave a comment with your name on my sponsor page, so I know who you are and can write your name on a bit of paper. Or ten bits of paper. Or however many bits of paper your incredibly kind and wondrous donation translates into.
The race is on July 21st, so pretty soon after that I’ll be sticking all those bits of paper in a hat/bowl/saucepan, having a root around, and pulling out one name. That person will win an unframed, A4 bespoke papercut – either a family tree or a filled initial papercut.
So summink like this:
|Family tree © Melissa Holmes
|Filled letter initial © Melissa Holmes
There’ll be reasonable limits on the number of names/level of detail included (to be discussed with the winner after the draw), and I will endeavour to do the winner’s cut in August. I’ll cover UK postage, if the winner is international I’d request that they cover their own postage. And I’ll announce the winner right here, soon after race day.
So what do you reckon? You in? Fancy winning a bespoke Holmes-made papercut *and* doing a wee bit to help scare the crap outta cancer?
Best click here then…
PS – This has nothing to do with Facebook whatsoever. So there you go.