This year marks the fifth year anniversary to losing my Dad to prostate cancer. I don’t really know why it should feel any different to the second, third or fourth year, but it does. I suppose five years feels like a significant unit of time. Of which the pain and heartbreak of losing a parent should probably have healed? Whilst life inevitably goes on and I strive to continue to make the very most of my time on earth, that five years still feels like yesterday. I still miss and think about him every single day. I still feel shock that it actually happened. I still feel cheated and sometimes angry that he was taken too soon. My life choices, thought processes and personality are still moulded by him and I don’t think it’ll ever quite sink in that he’s actually gone.
When Dad was diagnosed, up until his death, I had the uneasy feeling of total helplessness. The only thing that felt that helped was using my position at work to raise the awareness as much as I could and in turn fundraise for Prostate Cancer charities to help spare other men and families such pain. Then, after Dads death, if I’m honest I simply didn’t want cancer in my life anymore. I selfishly just wanted life to revolve around anything other than cancer.
But this changed last year when I got more involved with the charity Movember, who support Prostate and male cancers with the help of the mighty moustaches. I realised I should be doing more and also how important it is to share your story. So I decided that this year, being the fifth year anniversary should be the year I did something far more pro active! I decided I wanted to take on a physical challenge that would push me. Something I could work towards and use to drive the campaign and fundraising along the way. With so many interesting, exciting and worldwide charitable challenges you can take on, it was my boyfriend, with his new two wheeled hobby, who encouraged me to look into a cycling option. So we found the 380km cycling challenge which takes place over five days, starting in Yosemite National Park, ending up on the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, setting up camp in between! The distance and endurance scares me a tad but I know I can get in training, work towards it and make it to the end. Also hoping the bears at Yosemite don’t take an interest in our tent.
I know we get endless requests for charitable causes, but the fact is people do it because in those moments of helplessness it makes them feel like they’re giving something back and making a difference. But also the real fact is you never know when you may need the next breakthrough in cancer research to benefit you, your family or friends. I recently met a cancer patient who’d been given just two years to live. Within that two years, due to research, they’d been able to try new drugs and the cancer is now manageable and should be for years to come. Lets hope in years to come science could help us or our family out in the same way.