The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

I have been thinking about this blog entry for a while. It is about money again, but also about cancer and the fact that children die from cancer every day. I sometimes feel a little guilty for rambling on about this, about Vega and our “suffering” when really there are so many children in the world which are so much worse. Children are dying every day, losing their battles to disease, famine, war, in road traffic accidents… and here I am going on about how crap all this life saving stuff is that Vega has to endure.

But then recently a friend posted a lecture on facebook about meat eating/vegetarianism and I responded that I feel overwhelmed by my desire to do right, that I don’t know where to start- were I to decide not to eat meat anymore, because of ethical reasons, should I not become a vegan then? How could I still drink milk knowing about the cruelty of removing a calf from its mother for the purpose of the diary industry? How could I still wear leather shoes? And would I decide to be a vegetarian because I care about animals and then still buy chocolate/coffee/soya products- as all of these products trail an ethical dilemma behind them. My friend responded that it is not useful to think like that and, although I can not remember his exact words, it was something along the lines of, we would never start anything if we’d always look at the whole picture. That even small steps are significant in the face of big change.

I guess you wonder where I am going with this! What I am meaning to say is, yes I know children are dying everyday, so are adults, animals, rainforests. But my fight has to be Vega’s and that is by chance, cancer. So if I can act as a small change in something big, then this is what I have chosen to act upon.

I found this speech by the American comedian Anthony Griffith, who very sadly has lost his daughter to cancer. It is very sad to listen to, I cried and cried, but it is also so very real and courageous and speaks so clearly of the heartache that every parent has to endure when their child is diagnosed with cancer. I can see why he first says 6 minutes because this is how short it must feel like when you are told you will not have a lifetime to be with your child.

I have not made many oncology “friends’ but I have been in contact with another mother who’s six year old daughter was diagnosed a month before Vega, with Leukaemia, same story as ours, they went on the high risk regime after the induction chemotherapy and we have kept in touch, exchanging experiences from time to time, as well as bumping into each other at Kings or the Marsden. Today we spoke on the phone again, both of us relieved that our girls have reached maintenance fairly unscathed. But as we both talked about this milestone and our relief we relived some of our fears and worries about our children dying. Something that we never spoken about before, was suddenly able to be verbalized. And it felt so good to confess to each other all those dark thoughts, some of which I have shared with you here, and some of which Anthony Griffith talks about in his speech too.

And in light of all this, I would like to remind you once again of my fundraising drive for Cancer Research. Our walk will be next weekend, but like I said before, don’t pay me for a poxy walk. Give some money to fund vital- VITAL- research into finding a cure for children’s cancers. I know we are not saving the world, or the rainforests, or the coffee farmers in South America, or even cows. But every pound you donate really does take us a step closer to a time when no parent will have to cry like Anthony Griffith, no parent will have to think of how to tell their other children their sibling is dying, and no child will even have to face the same hardships as Vega did and still does every day.
And wouldn’t that be something?

This research is working. Maybe Anthony Griffiths’ daughter would survive today. Vega is.

(Due to your very generous donations I have long met my target. If you haven’t donated yet, or want to give a little more, please check out our team page and donate to some of my teammates, so we can meet and beat our team target. All money collected will go to Cancer Research.)