Some months go I wrote a blog post on appreciation. I knew what I wanted to say but no matter how hard I tried it wasn’t happening. I can count on one hand how many blog posts I’ve written so this is all still new to me. When I set my blog up I envisaged predominantly writing about work with a little bit of family and general life thrown in……so far I’ve not written anything about work!
I have a notebook which I carry around with me where I jot down ideas for blog topics (It seemed a good excuse to give in to my stationary obsession!) but so far I’ve only really sat down to write when a topic has grabbed me.
I have been pottering around the house thinking about lots of random little things but mainly my thoughts have been monopolised with the forthcoming Race For Life. You’ll have to excuse my ramblings, they are more a cathartic way of reflecting for me than anything else!
On Sunday I will be joining my sisters, my little girl and over 100 ladies who are uniting as Team Georgia to take part in the 5k Race For Life at Pennington Flash in Leigh.
In September 2009 we received the news that everyone dreads. My Dad was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. As an individual you are always aware of cancer, its everywhere – in the news, affecting people around you, adverts for support and research – but you never really think it will affect you……until it does.
Not long after my Dad’s diagnosis I found out I was pregnant. It was a time of mixed emotions, excitement and happiness at our forthcoming child but anxiety and upset at the battle my Dad was facing. There were times during my pregnancy that, due to the treatment my Dad was having, I couldn’t see him; they were some of the hardest times for me.
For two years we lived in a limbo state of always looking towards the next treatment, the next appointment, the next scan. Its so hard to live in the moment when all you can think about is fighting and beating cancer.
On the 8th of September 2011 my Dad passed away, my heart broke and my Dad took a piece of it with him.
As a family we had just started our journey of grieving when, 6 weeks later my niece, Georgia was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma; she was 5 years old. We were devastated. And so the limbo state started again.
Neuroblastoma is the most aggressive form of childhood cancer. Georgia underwent gruelling treatment throughout the end of 2011 and the whole of 2012. Throughout it all she was so positive and upbeat; always smiling and laughing. She was, and still is inspirational – we can all learn from a child’s outlook on life!
Our first Race for Life took place on the 9th of June 2013; it should have been my Dad’s 65th birthday. It seemed like the right time to take part, to remember my Dad but also to recognise the fight my niece, Georgia, had been fighting – and won! That year Georgia started the race and Team Georgia was created.
In 2014 Team Georgia were again present at the Race for Life, having grown in number from the previous year. This time Georgia did the warm up on stage. Unfortunately in August 2014, just before Georgia’s 8th birthday we were given the devastating news that her cancer had returned. Her treatment restarted and, as usual, she showed us all how it should be done; with strength, courage, positive attitude and a cheeky smile.
In 2015 Team Georgia again did the Race for Life at Pennington Flash. Georgia was the guest of honour and started the race again. Despite the fact that she was still undergoing chemotherapy she took part and completed the race with us all. The support we, as a family, received was amazing.
So this year is going to be different.
On the 16th of December 2015 Georgia passed away peacefully holding her Mum’s hand, she was just 9 years of age. She had a long battle with cancer that she fought heroically. I think there were hundreds of hearts that broke that day and, just as my Dad did, Georgia took a piece of my heart with her.
As I said at the beginning of my post, this year there will be over 100 of us in Team Georgia at the Pennington Flash Race for Life in Leigh to pay tribute to my wonderful, kind, caring and loving niece. Georgia loved to help others, she is my inspiration and I constantly remind myself that she would want me to be brave and helpful even when you would rather not.
Whilst these 6 years have been unimaginably painful there have also been many, many joyful and happy points. I wrote a blog post for the advent blog at Christmas (link) about the need to be in the moment and appreciate the journey. That’s what I’m trying to do.