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Craig's Musings

Cancer Stories Bring It Home

As I move to within 200 days of my ride, I feel excited and nervous. Forget the cycling; this is quite a challenge for me personally, one I know that will become a huge memory for life.

But today, while doing my day job for a client, Ripton Windows (also one of the corporate sponsors of my ride), I came into contact with three ladies who are supported by The Pink Place, the charity I am raising funds for. Having encouraged the Basingstoke-based windows and doors installer to adopt The Pink Place as their charity of the year, they were meeting to talk about fundraising.

Ripton Windows Pink Place

I’m unsure if they are used to doing this kind of thing, but each one told a poignant story about what The Pink Place means to them. It’s a huge thing, I’d imagine, to share their stories, especially with strangers.

Jane had suffered from a rare form of cancer that had attacked her lymph nodes. The treatment was successful, and she is in remission, but when she got home and settled back into life, she felt alone, with no follow-up provided. She told us how she had looked online and luckily found the Pink Place, which has been, in her words, a ‘life-saver”.

Chris was diagnosed and had the same trial treatment as Jane, which was successful. It was a harsh treatment, with operations and radiotherapy, and she readily admits “it was like falling off a cliff” at the end, which resulted in her becoming “a bit of a hermit”. Meeting Jane through¬†Moving Forward, run by Breast Cancer Now, she was introduced to The Pink Place, where she feels supported in a safe place and “doesn’t need to pretend” in front of other people.

Finally, we heard from Sarah, who told us how she was diagnosed with incurable cancer eight years ago. With treatments every three weeks, her life has been changed forever. It’s not the treatments; it’s the side-effects. The Pink Place offers her a place to laugh and joke and take advantage of massage that brings her joints to life. She discussed how, in the group, people help each other through their shared experiences, especially new members, and commented that she was not quite sure what she would have done without The Pink Place.

(Reading my words back, much of the emotion is lost. But there was a quiet dignity from each lady. Not beaten, and still willing to laugh. I’m not sure I’d be that strong!)

When I hear stories like this, it brings it home.

HOW LUCKY AM I TO BE ABLE EVEN TO DO THIS RIDE!

When you have charities vying for your attention and cash, left, right, and centre, it’s easy to become flippant. But when you hear these oh-so-personal stories, you realise the difference charities like this make to an individual’s life story – yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The help they offer, the support they give, not to mention the platform they provide for these people to help and support each other.

From a completely selfish point of view, I love that even as a pasty, overweight man hurtling through his fifties, I can do something like this life-changing ride AND raise cash and awareness with my big mouth, which helps people now.

How lucky am I to be able even to do this ride!

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