Six months ago, I foolishly signed up for the Royal Parks Half Marathon, thinking I’d be right as rain by October and not quite realising just how long it takes to regain full fitness after one surgery, six months of chemo and 33 rounds of radiotherapy. Add to that the effects of a scorching British summer, a month travelling around hot, sweaty Asia and a week of extreme jetlag and flu, and you can probably imagine I’m not doing very well with my training.
But, as I wrote in a blog post after my first post-cancer run in the February snow with my hat covering my completely bald head (see above selfie), quitting is not an option. I shall complete that half marathon in a week’s time even if I have to crawl through the finish line.
Many of you offered to help in some way after I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, and now I’d like to take you up on the offer with a couple of cheeky favours:
Firstly, please sponsor me and my friend Karen to help raise money for the brilliant breast cancer awareness charity Coppafeel:
(Ah, go on!)
Secondly, if you’re in the London area on October 6, please come along and do lots of cheering and shouting and general reveling in the fact that you are not running 13.1 miles in the cold and rain (or, worse, hot sunshine). Here’s the route map so you can choose somewhere to plonk yourself:
(Even if it’s just to gloat.)
Most of you know I was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 months ago. What many of you don’t know is that before that, I was misdiagnosed by a doctor who overlooked the sizeable lump in my boob partly because I was “too young” for breast cancer. Fortunately, I got the new diagnosis in time for successful treatment, but others even younger than me have not been so lucky.
Kris Hallenga founded Coppafeel in 2009 after she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in her early 20s. Kris had also been dismissed by one of her doctors because, at 23, she was “too young” for the disease. Four years later, she is living with cancer and, along with her twin sister Maren, has dedicated her life to raising awareness about the disease in young men and women. By talking to school- and university-age kids to help them understand the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, Kris and her army of ‘Boobettes’ help empower young people so they know their own bodies and get the right help from doctors. Coppafeel’s aim is that nobody dies of this awful disease because of misdiagnosis or late detection, and that’s a cause very close to my heart.
If you have ever uttered the words “If there’s anything I can do to help…” then now’s the time, whether you’re one of the people who have supported me throughout, or perhaps someone who’s just thought of me from afar. I’m aware this will be one of a great many sponsorship requests in your inbox this year, but I’ll appreciate any donation, big or small, so please consider it.
If anyone would prefer to donate to a different charity, please give to Breast Cancer Care UK or Cancer Research UK or perhaps a similar charity in your respective countries. Don’t forget to let me know, so I can say thanks.
A huge, huge thank you in advance to all who have sponsored Karen and I so far, and my massive gratitude to those who have helped me in other ways.
I’ll leave you with the final paragraph from that blog post:
The thing is, Cancer is a marathon. You have to be positive to get through it. You’ll probably start feeling a lot of pain around mile 20, but you know if you reach the finish line, you’re going to feel so elated, so full of joy and pride and sense of achievement, that it’ll all be worth it. You’ll feel more alive than ever before. And then you may be asked to run it again. But you’ll do it, because you have to.Quitting is not an option. So I guess I’ll just keep running.