22 years ago, I was diagnosed. Whisked into hospital, I began 2 years of treatment that would invade my immune system, change my moods, strip me of my hair and change the course of my life forever.
20 years ago today, I was still being treated. 20 years ago on Saturday 19th April 2014, I will have been ‘All Clear’ for exactly 20 years.
It’s been an emotional roller coaster of a week and I anticipate that it’ll get worse. I feel joyous for my health, grateful for the future I have but feel fear of what’s to come. I feel warmth from the fond friends I made, sadness for those I lost and guilt for not being with them…nobody prepares you for this part.
I feel proud of what I’ve achieved.
I never used my illness as an excuse , as a ‘get out of jail free’ card or as a method of gaining attention – I am very much the opposite. And as I write the speech for Ladies Night, a fundraiser I’m holding on Saturday for NECCR, I feel uneasy…a feeling of not wanting the spotlight on myself – instead, I want to take it and shine it upon those who have shown such incredible kindness. My best friend Ana, who is providing catering, helping with organisation and helping me to celebrate too! To Mel, Marie, Carla, my mam Carol, James, Emma, Steven and Alex who are to be part of the evening…to Simply Bespoke Events go have given me 100 chair covers and table centres because they ‘want to help’. Aren’t people just amazing?!
My illness 20 years ago opened my eyes to people. Although I’ve seen immense cruelty first hand, I’ve been touched by the kindness, generosity and warmth of both close friends and complete strangers. For every 1 person who stared at the little girl with no hair, there have been 20 who have stood beside me through all kinds of things – for every stranger who didn’t bat an eyelid, 10 stood up to make a difference…
For those who will be there on Saturday, prepare yourselves for an evening of fun mixed with raw emotion – an evening of celebration paired with the certainty that the money we raise will help others and inspire more…