As it was the first of April yesterday, it marked the first day of my Cancer Research fundraiser, when I am walking 60 miles with my dogs this month. I have been enjoying an early dog walk most of this year, which has improved both my mental and physical health, but now I have an extra sense of purpose in my steps. I was awake early and so at 6.15, I dressed our three dogs in their turquoise Cancer Research bandanas and they all looked so smart. I have a matching turquoise t shirt to wear but it was frosty and so it was jumper rather than t shirt weather, so the dogs wore the branding for me on Day 1. The reality is that at that time of day, we did not meet a single soul while out walking, so there were plenty of photo opportunities but no opportunities to promote the cause.
We covered 4 miles yesterday, which is double what we needed to complete in order to meet the 60 mile target this month, but none of us knows what is around the corner and so it pays to have some extra miles in the bag, in case of unforeseen circumstances later in the month. While I walked I thought of those who I have known who have died of cancer, those who have fought a brave fight against the disease and those who are facing a life sentence, where cancer is winning the battle. I became emotional as I was walking, actually putting names and faces to those tackling cancer in my life.
Treatment is so aggressive that it takes such a toll on the body. I can recall holding my boss’s hand, the day before he died when I took a cake round for his 70th birthday, and gently rubbing it as we were talking. He had to ask me to stop as his skin was so paper-thin that ,even that contact, was painful to him. Even those who are now cancer-free are living with the ongoing side effects of chemotherapy. My husband recently lost he sense of taste and smell with Covid and that upset him a lot. But I can recall my boss being devastated that treatment had changed his taste buds : he would tell his wife what he fancied to eat, she would lovingly prepare it, but then it would not taste like how he expected it to and he could not finish it. I would love to think that Cancer Research could develop a gentler treatment, that is more effective against cancer but is less devastating to the patient’s body.
So me and the dogs are now 4 miles down, with just 56 more to go this month. I have thrashed my £150 fund raising target, now I have my sights firmly set on raising at least £500 for this worthy cause.