I shouldn’t be here. I mean that in two ways.
This year, my husband, Ian and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. To mark this milestone, we had booked to go to Naples. Had all gone to plan, we should now be in our gorgeous hotel, enjoying a glass (or bottle!) of Italian red while taking in glorious views over the bay, and of Mount Vesuvius and Castel dell Ovo in the distance.
But, because of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re not there.
Mind you, the only reason I’m here to celebrate my Golden Wedding Anniversary at all is because our brilliant NHS.
Early diagnosis saved my life
Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Fortunately, I was diagnosed early and had surgery to remove the tumour; and of course, the team at Leeds Cancer Centre, Bexley Wing, were just incredible.
After my operation, my specialist nurse introduced me to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. He pointed me in the direction of their Leeds support group, and to all the free information they provide.
Since that day, the charity has become part of my everyday life, so now I just can’t imagine getting through lung cancer without them.
I check out their forum most days. It’s brilliant for supporting people affected by lung cancer – patients and loved ones alike. There are some really dedicated folk on there.
The forum really helps because, when you’re diagnosed with lung cancer, what you need more than anything is other people to talk to, people who know exactly what it’s like to have this illness.Pat, patient advocate
If it wasn’t for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, I would never have met a now very special friend. We met at one of the charity’s lung cancer information days and just hit it off. She’s now a huge part of my life and I feel very lucky to have her as my friend.
This charity means a lot to me and so, to mark our Golden Wedding anniversary, I set up a Facebook Fundraiser and asked people to donate to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation instead of buying us an anniversary present.
Supporting them like they support us
I appreciate things are very bad at the minute. People are losing their jobs, businesses are struggling to survive, and with fundraising drying up, charities like Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation are facing worrying times too.
Once this is all over, Ian and I will be on that balcony with our wine and I just hope that Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation will still be around too, because where will we be in the future without their valuable lifesaving support and research?
So, if we can, we must do our best to support them. So, I encourage everyone to set up their own Facebook Fundraiser and make sure we support this charity the way it has supported me, and the thousands of other patients. No matter how much we give, anything is better than nothing.