Sunday, 3 July 2011

I don't like to beg, but I'm going to. 

I'm not going to rattle a tin in your face as you try to make your way to work and I am not going to accost you with a clipboard as you try to get on with your shopping. I'm going to walk. In a very large circle. While you're asleep.

In the years since being diagnosed with Leukaemia I've been the recipient of a great deal of good will whether through colleagues donating blood, or care and support from charitable organisations who fund research, nursing, and counselling.

Since 2009 I have made a concerted effort do donate to cancer charities and organisations when the opportunity has arisen. The time has come though, I feel, to go out and play my part in earning some of that generosity.

In October this year I am going to walk a marathon at night in aid of Cancer Research.

At first I thought that, compared to some of the bike rides and runs I could have opted for a walk would be relatively easy. I walk between my desk and the coffee machine at work a lot every day. I walk around town at weekends. Walking is just walking. 26 miles is just a bit more of it all at once.

The more I thought about it though, after I had signed up, the more I realised how much of a task this was likely to be. The time needed to do it is likely to be greater than the amount of time I'd ordinarily be spending asleep. The distance is similar to the distance I'd hike for Duke of Edinburgh awards in my teens but that would be spread over a whole weekend with stops for food and merriment.

Since signing up the number of conversations I've had about appropriate footwear and anti-chaffing under garments has made me realise that this is going to be a bit more arduous than the last sponsored walk I did age seven in my Primary School playground.

The effort it will involve, I think, sits well with the disease I am walking for. Leukaemia, like many cancers, is not a fast run thing. It is a slow hard slog.

It is waiting. It is slow treatments. It is drawn out pain. It is lengthy sickness. It is weeks or months of recovery. And if you're lucky, it is years of watching, waiting and testing to see if it returns. 

I cannot think of a more appropriate metaphor for dealing with cancer than an extraordinarily long walk through London, at night, in the cold.

You have all supported me greatly already through hugs, gifts, help, time off, talking, emails, or just through reading this blog. I am eternally grateful for all of this but I'd like you to give me just a little bit more. I'd like you to donate just a little bit of money so that when it comes to it, on the 1st October this year, I know I am walking a bloody long way for a reason.

The money I am hoping to raise will go to Cancer Research. It cannot be stated enough how much of an impact charitable giving has on the research required to help people like me live longer. The drug I was treated with was first developed at a University funded by donations. The treatment has been refined over the years by no- for-profit organisations. As recently as last month research funded by charity has identified a single genetic abnormality linked to Hairy Cell Leukaemia. This is a massive step and similar steps are being made in research for other cancers every year but the job is not done yet. We are a long way off from a cure. 

I'm going to give some of my time, I'd like you to join me in giving some money, and in return some very clever people, who you or I will probably never meet, will work tirelessly to try and save either my life, the life of someone else you know, or even you.

For the sake of a just a few pounds from you and astonishingly sore feet from me this seems like a pretty good deal.

As is the norm these days you can sponsor me online...

..or stick to the more traditional route of handing me some money in person.

Be sure to make it clear though why you're giving it to me lest it gets used to purchase some comfy trainers or some anti-chaffing pants.

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