Almost three years ago, I lost a very close friend to cancer. She was young, fit and healthy before beginning her battle with chemo and other treatment.
Life can often feel like pushing an elephant up a hill - there are days when it can be hard to get up, get dressed and get moving. In all the time that Mags was sick, she showed everyone how much an upbeat attitude and can do mentality can help you to push any elephant up any hill. It was also clear how much friendly, caring, empathetic and knowledgeable nursing staff can help the process.
6 months before Mags died, she visited me where I was working in the Caribbean. There was a volcano that a couple of us had been talking about climbing, and when Mags heard about it, she was adamant that she would climb too, even though she had just finished radiation. To say I was dubious is an understatement, but she was determined so off we set. It took a lot longer than normal, and you could see the price of every step, but she got to the top with an enormous grin and huge satisfaction. It was the clearest lesson in determination, courage and sheer bloody-mindedness. If she could get to that summit, anyone can get anywhere.
When I saw the Kili climb for Macmillan, it was very clear that this was something that I needed to do. Partly to continue her positive attitude. Partly as a show of support for all those struggling with this vile disease - if they can show up everyday and put up with tests, operations and treatment (generally still with a smile on their faces) then the least I can do is put up with a little discomfort. But mainly to help ensure that they don't have to go through it alone. Macmillan is vital in supporting the people most affected by cancer - the patient themselves as well as their family. Put yourself in their shoes - going through this alone would be so much harder then going through with a huge base of support. Please, help us to help all the nurses, doctors and other staff at Macmillan to help people like Mags who desperately need that extra support.