On July 2nd, after a fierce and hard fought battle, we lost our dear friend Zahra Whittaker to the evil that is cancer. That battle was fought by Zahra, aka The Ox Lady, who, with the support of her family and friends, fought with a passion and spirit of positivity that will remain with us for all time.
Zahra was cared for by the outstanding team at The Christie Hospital and many of you may remember some fund raising we did on their behalf when Zahra came through her first treatment and subsequent stem cell transplant last year.
During her time in hospital she found space in her own personal battle to think of others and was planning on doing some pottery workshops for the many youngsters who are treated there. The Teenage Cancer Trust and Anthony Nolan are two charities that she favoured. There is a Just Giving page set up in memory of Zahra here; https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/zahra-whittaker
So why am I writing this story? I would like to pay homage to the legacy of positive mental attitude that Zahra leaves us. Anyone who was fortunate to know Zahra will already be aware of her infectious personality and kindness. I want to evidence the inspirational example for us all whatever challenges life presents us with. Throughout her difficult battle she remained defiant, positive thinking, good humoured, determined, focused, upbeat and most of all, still there caring selflessly for all those around her.
On July 27th at 6pm, I will set off from Coniston in the Lake District in the Lakeland 100 ultra trail race. This involves running a nonstop 105 mile clockwise lap of the fells, back to Coniston (before breakfast on Sunday hopefully!) http://www.lakeland100.com
In endurance terms, it is a mere fraction of an ordeal and I make no comparison here, but if I can channel a small fragment of Zahra's attitude it will spur me on along every difficult mile. The immense spirit of her soul will keep me mindful and safe from the dark places that this journey will inevitably take me at times.
This is my own small way of recognising, celebrating and honouring Zahra, taken so unfairly from Roger, Leo, Ed and all her family. I hope others will also be able to draw strength of their own from this wonderful legacy she leave us with, for a legacy it truly is.
If you can spare any donations to Anthony Nolan to help the fantastic work they do, it would be appreciated. Stem cell donors save and rebuild patients lives and it is a marvellous thing.
While I have your attention, why not join the stem cell donor database? It is so simple and can be literally life saving; https://www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways-you-could-save-life/donate-your-stem-cells
Cancer devastates too many lives and we need to kick its arse.
Thank you for reading.
This one is for The Ox. With love. x