Saturday 23 November 2013

A friend is fundraising for cancer treatment

About two years ago, I had a pretty dreadful November - my writing career looked like it had upended, one of my friends left our small industry entirely because she felt no longer safe, and we lost contact, and I lost my very well-paid job at an investment bank in the teeth of one of the worst job recessions in the UK had seen in living memory.

Rona, one of my friends had it worse. That same November, I visited her for a weekend in Brighton, where she was undergoing alternative cancer treatment. The woman she lived with in the clinic, Andrea, would die a few months later, as her own cancer had spread.

My own (maternal) family tends to die from cancer. My mother died of ovarian cancer at 41 in 1997. I was 22. My aunt had a mastectomy. My grandfather eventually died of pancreatic cancer. My grandmother followed him six weeks later - brain cancer. (It's that weird thing with old people - a friend of mine once said "they die like budgies - one morning, one's dead in the cage, and the other one might be 100% healthy but is dead within the week.") One aunt had a growth in the thyroid that needed to go. My other aunts and uncles are still about - overall, we're a pretty hardy family, but cancer has been responsible for 100% of all recent deaths and surgical interventions.

In short, I have a critical illness insurance and have always had one, though I'm reasonably healthy and a non-smoker. The genetics for cancer are definitely in place, and I'm overweight and live in one of the more polluted, not-exactly-restful city. But I'm still pretty much aware that cancer is something that might just hit me, despite everything. The genes are wired that way.

This is all just some background about the situation with Rona, one of my few meat-space friends I have in London. If you read her blog, you can follow her journey through alternative therapies and traditional therapies (surgery, chemo) and what she's going through. It's not a "woe-is-me" blog, but it's a pretty acute description of what she's gone through and is still going through.

In short, after two years of therapy, and quite a few dead-ends, Rona's reached the end of her financial means. The surgery to remove the cancer has left one of her large nerves damaged and mobility/strength in one of her arms greatly diminished. She's a fit, active woman, so that was quite a blow. She's aiming to raise money to seek an alternative to traditional chemotherapy - which would slow down/stop recovery of her arm/nerves. Chemo is seriously bad news for nerves.

So, if you feel so inclined and have a few bob to spare, here's her fundraising page. I'd offer a free story, but I don't really have anything finished or otherwise (and I'm on a *tight* deadline for Suckerpunch), but I also don't want to wait until I can offer something - it's too important.

Thanks for reading and any donations!

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