Towards the end of 2014, my other half Emma was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the ovary - an extremely nasty form of cancer that also turned out to be incredibly rare. Despite the bleak outlook, we've been incredibly lucky - I've no doubt that it was the NHS-funded care that Emma received at The Royal Marsden that saved her life.
Last year I aimed to try and repay the favour by fundraising to support this fantastic hospital, but this year I'm supporting something different: The Eve Appeal specialises in protecting women from gynaecological cancers, but specifically the money raised on this page will be going towards Angela's Fund - named after a woman who sadly died shortly after being diagnosed with this rare form of cancer.
Angela was distraught to find upon diagnosis (in September 2012) that no research had ever been carried out in the world. She set about to change this, and her family have continued to devote large amounts of their lives to fundraising the research that might help others in the future. You can read more about Angela's Fund and her story here: http://www.sc-ovca.org/our-sponsors/.
Given how hopeless things looked back in 2014, I can't believe how lucky we've been - and continue to be - but myself and Emma are very much aware how frequently the story turns out so very differently. Angela's family's endless efforts to raise money for research to help those in the future has proved to be a huge inspiration: I want to do my bit to help secure a legacy of hope for those who get diagnosed in the future.
Cancer Research do a ton of good, but small rare cancers such as this simply don't receive any attention - over the past 3 years they've raised £47,532, all of which will be spent on research. I'd like to bump that up to £50,000.
Perhaps the nastiest aspect of small cell carcinoma of the ovary is the fact that it mostly affects women in their late teens and early 20s - the hugely aggressive nature of the cancer means that many die shortly after diagnosis, but even for those who manage to survive the implications and trauma are huge.
To be losing one or both of your ovaries at such a young age, facing the menopause, losing hope of ever having children at a point in their life when they're only just figuring out who they are, what they potentially want out of life - it's all just unbelievably cruel.
Over the past few years things have improved, but for a long time it was a real struggle to find any hope. Please help me to secure a future where others in our position might be granted a slightly brighter outlook. Thank you so much - and oh, do pop along and watch us play Dark Souls 3!
Me and Chris Bratt will be starting at 10am UK time on Saturday the 25th of June, and carrying on until we give up from exhaustion. We'll be streaming on Twitch, then uploading to YouTube afterwards. https://www.twitch.tv/thejamsponge
Thank you SO MUCH for your support - it means a ton.