Race for Lives

15 03 2011

On Thursday 19th May, Rachel and her Mum will be walking the ‘Race for Life’ together in Cannon Hill Park.  This is a little blogpost with some backstory as to why it’s so important to us that you sponsor us by clicking the link…

In November 2007 my Mum was diagnosed as being in the advanced stages of Hodgkins Disease, a type of Lymphoma.  This came after months of tests to try and get to the bottom of her breathlessness, erratic blood pressure and itchy skin.  Whilst it was a huge relief to get a diagnosis after months of worry, the news wasn’t good.

Mum and Rach

Mum was admitted for emergency surgery at New Cross Hospital to remove a tumour the size of a flattened football which was pressing against her heart and lungs and had until that point gone undetected.  The operation involved removing a chunk of her lungs.  This was followed by six months of chemotherapy, which straddled our Wedding in May.  Not to be deterred by a small detail like cancer, we pressed ahead and planned the weekend as a family.  Five months into chemo, with her hair falling off in clumps and a Hickman Line coming out of her chest, Mum stood in front of our friends and family and spoke openly about her experience and how we’d pulled together as a family.  I couldn’t have been prouder of her or my incredibly supportive Dad.
Rach and parents
Unfortunately that initial round of chemo was not enough to see off the ‘Bastard Hodgkins’, and several more courses were given, one of which resulted in partial and permanent hearing loss; a real blow for someone who is a passionate music lover and musician.  By the end of 2008 Mum was experiencing increasingly poor health as the effects of so much chemo took their toll and it became clear that the chemo was not enough for such an aggressive disease.

In March 2009, Mum underwent a Stem Cell transplant at Heartlands Hospital.  This risky procedure involved taking what was hoped were her healthy, immature cells, and reintroducing them into her system after she had been given a massive dose of chemo.  We were warned that the chances of success were relatively low, and the chance that she would not survive the treatment was high.  What followed was a traumatic couple of weeks which I would wish on no-one.  With a virtually non-existent immune system and very little food, she was incredibly vulnerable and remained in isolation for some time.

That final assault on ‘Bastard Hodgkins’ plus some additional Radiotherapy in the Summer of 2009 has to date been successful.  Now Mum is regaining her quality of life, despite breathlessness and hearing loss.  This May she will be walking the ‘Race for Life’ in Cannon Hill Park to try and raise funds for Cancer Research, and I’m proud that she’s asked me to join her.

We’ll be doing the walk as a celebration of her being a survivor, as a chance for her to get her fitness back, and to raise funds to ensure that others receive the excellent care that she received AND better.  Our knowledge of cancer and the means of treating it is changing rapidly thanks to Cancer Research.  Had Mum been ill only ten years before then it is unlikely that she would have survived.

To date, just over a week after signing up she’s raised 110% of her target, a real testament as to how supportive and loving friends and family are.  Let’s see how much we can raise altogether.  Please consider parting with some money for what I think is a great cause by going to:  http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/louisesmith0503 where you can also keep track of her progress!

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4 responses

15 03 2011
janet and gordon

What an inspirational story and particularily encouraging to us because gordons cousin in the us only a young man is currently in the throws of fighting lymphoma and its so good to hear that there can be light at the end of the tunnel. God bless

20 03 2011
diane codrington

hi Rachel
I’m proud to know you both dood luck on the day and always.Diane

21 03 2011
jamesrach

As an update, we’re now on £460! Unbelievable! I’m humbled by the heartfelt support we’ve received from so many people. My Great Auntie Rina has suggested we should be aiming for a four figure sum. Could we be so bold….?

11 04 2011
jamesrach

Looks like the four figure sum is going to happen! £885 raised so far with over a month to go, not to mention the Gift Aid! Thanks so much everyone!

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