If British summer is approaching (well,they say it is… but judging by what I’ve seen this is merely a vicious rumour!!), that means that the annual Race for Life season is also approaching. This is an annual programme of 5km fundraising races to benefit Cancer Research UK. I read a newspaper report yesterday comparing survival rates for breast cancer in 1970-71 (40.7%) with survival rates in 2000-01 (71.5%). This massive improvement is due to improved techniques of diagnosis and treatment, which are only made possible by massive investments in research. Even if you do not live in England, the research done by bodies such as Cancer Research UK has an impact far beyond national borders. It was a Cancer Research UK study in the 1990s that revealed the effectiveness of Tamoxifen to younger breast cancer patients as well as older patients, potentially saving tens of thousands of lives each year.
Despite my life-long aversion to running, I took part last year, running for my friend Christelle who passed away in December 2005 from cervical cancer, just 29 years old. Up to then, cancer had always been a step removed – another generation, another family, another country. And although three of my closest friends lost parents to cancer, it only really hit home what a terrible disease this is when I had to watch somebody of my generation succumb to it.
I was shocked to learn about 3 weeks ago that my sister-in-law Paola’s sister Gail has breast cancer. I have known Gail for almost as long as I’ve known Paola (about 17 years) and have spent many happy holidays at her holiday house in Plett and wonderful Christmases at her table. She’s family. I was devastated by the news and I can only imagine what she and her husband, children and grandchild are going through. Within a few days of the diagnosis, Gail had a mastectomy and has to start chemotherapy on 21 May. This year I am racing along with three friends (Olwen, Lisa and Iliana) and although I will be racing for all the people I mentioned, above all I will be racing for Gail on 15 July this year. And I can guarantee you that the sign on my T-shirt will say "I Race for Life for Gail – a survivor."
So… what can you do? Please click through to my fundraising pageand sponsor me. It’s easy – you can use your Visa, Delta or Mastercard credit card, or your Maestro, Switch or Solo debit cards via the secure site. It doesn’t matter how small the donation is – even raindrops will eventually fill a bucket with water. I am running with my friends Lisa Baird, Olwen Walker and Iliana Villarreal and when we’re done, we will let you see our no doubt amusing photos of the race.
Please help us to make a difference in the fight against cancer so that more people can survive this terrible disease.
And once you’ve donated, please reward yourself by checking out Barbara‘s astonishing roundup of A Taste of Yellow. Barbara, herself a cancer survivor, created this event to coincide with Livestrong Day on 16 May, which celebrates cancer survivors and raises cancer awareness.