Finally I got round to writing about what motivated me to start blogging- the 10km Race for Life on Sunday 5th July 2015 in Leicester, to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK.
I have always been a supporter of cancer charities, due to my family’s background. Many of my family members have been affected by cancer, the majority taking on the fight, leading to their survival! Unfortunately my grandmother, from my mother’s side of the family, lost the battle against pancreatic cancer when I was around 11 years old.
The most recent survival from cancer is my great uncle (my grandmother’s brother) when he survived from pancreatic cancer a few years ago. He is still the cheeky great uncle I have always known and loved, and I am thrilled that he is still energetic and full of life.
Cancer has not just affected my mother’s side of the family, but also my father. His grandmother suffered from cancer and treatment in the 1960s was, from what I’ve heard, a lot more painful and dangerous than it is now. She endured though and survived as well.
As much as cancer has greatly affected all of my family, the one I take closest to heart is my father. He was diagnosed with cancer in his early twenties, when he was engaged with my mother. My father was rather unwell, and my mother has told me a few times that she thought he was going to lose him.
He had a rare case of cancer at the time, so students were quite often present when he was at the hospital. Visit after numerous visit, my father continued to fight the battle, knowing that he had so much to live for. People asked my mother whether she would still marry my father, to which she always replied, ‘Of course I will’.
My parents became husband and wife while my father was still receiving treatment, and finally it all paid off. I’ve never seen my father cry, but one of the times that he did was when he was given the all clear.
My parents could now start their life together and have what they had always wanted, children. Their first attempt resulted in a miscarriage, to which both were distraught. They were worried that the cancer had affected their chances of conceiving children however, my sister was born!
My sister’s name was chosen with much thought and care. Her name is Zoe, which in Greek means ‘life’. A beautiful name which signifies the battle my parents fought and won.
A few years later I was born, and my grandfather simply called me Clare, saying that he really liked the name. I am proud to have been named by him, as he was such a kind and gentle-hearted individual, who sadly lost his life to a stroke.
Since cancer has affected both sides of my family, both of my parents have been great supporters of cancer charities and have helped others who suffer or have suffered from the effects of cancer.
My mother raised a fantastic total of £64,000 two years ago for Macmillan Cancer Support through endless fundraising and talking about the charity by travelling around the UK, with my father accompanying her as an escort.
I have helped out where I can for cancer charities, by putting loose change in money boxes, buying badges, going to the occasional coffee morning and sponsoring people who participate in fundraiser events. However, I want to do much much more; that is why I have signed up to do the 10km Race for Life.
While cancer has recently been proven to happen by chance in our bodies, more people than ever are now becoming affected by the disease. This is due to various factors, such as prolonged exposure to the sun without adequate protection, diet and lifestyle (smoking and alcohol), which increases the chances of producing cancer.
According to Cancer Research UK, 1 in 2 people in the UK will get cancer at some point in their lives. That is huge! However, more people than ever are surviving due to the improving treatments and Cancer Research UK’s ongoing quest to find a cure.
If there’s one thing I can reassured of, I won’t get cervical cancer. I remember receiving a letter through the door when I was in secondary school, requesting that I go to the doctor to have the HPV vaccine- I went without hesitation!
So there are some vaccines out there to prevent certain cancers from developing, and people are starting to become more aware of cancer. This awareness means that people are becoming more familiar with their bodies, getting themselves checked at their local GP when something is not quite right. This leads to early diagnosis, and a much higher chance of surviving.
I have actually previously participated in fundraising events that raise awareness for cancer. I had a lot of fun with university friends at the Color Run at Wembley Stadium in July 2013 and I walked 5km at a Race for Life last June at a lovely park in Welwyn Garden City with one of my university friends. I raised about £100 for both events combined, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
However, signing up for the 10km Race for Life this year is a big step for me, a chance to really do some serious fundraising, continue to raise awareness for Cancer Research UK and to change myself as well. I managed to successfully jog 10km non-stop recently on a treadmill at the gym, but I need to practice this outside at some point in the very near future.
Since lifestyle is now having a big impact upon our daily lives, I feel that jogging 10km would be a great and motivating way to change my health for the better, to help in reducing the risk of getting cancer in terms of lifestyle. So I am not just raising money and awareness for an important and worthy cause, but I’m also aiming to become a healthier individual.
So this is the story that motivated me to set up a blog, something I had wanted to do for a while. I must admit, this blog was quite hard for me to write, as I could feel myself getting rather emotional.
If any of you would like to donate towards Cancer Research UK, I have set up my very own just giving page. I have set a target of £200, which I think that I can reach!
I would like to end this blog with a massive thank you to all cancer charities for your continuous supportive and hard work for those suffering from the turmoils of cancer. I also want to thank everyone in my family who have survived from cancer- well done for being courageous and strong-willed!
And a personal special thank you to my parents. If it wasn’t for your determination and fighting power, I wouldn’t be here. I thank you for giving me the gift of life.
I will jog this Race for Life for my life.
Happy reading and blogging,