Earlier this year, I was added to the Social Club at work. Basically, as I sit in the marketing team, it’s my job to let everyone know about the various charity days and weeks we have planned within the company. We work with local press and our people internally to do our bit for the local community. Of Harold Wood.
We have a saying about Harold Wood.
Harold Wood. Ew.
Anyway, even more importantly are the people I speak to daily.
I work with customers who have all manner of medical conditions, including those who have cancer. And oh man, how unfair life can be. Not only is there the huge struggle to treat this awful disease and dealing with the mental strain it puts on patients and their loved ones, there’s the sting in the tail in that they can’t even go on holiday half the time. Seriously.
Imagine having spent years in and our of hospitals and clinics, dealing the with possibility there might not be another year, month, or week.
Can you imagine the futility of thinking you’ll not see another summer? All those things you had planned – a nice car and house, kids and a puppy, holidays to sunny climes in winter, taking the little ones skiing in winter – they’re gone.
Imagine if you were told this summer was your last. And then being too physically weak to tick off everything on your actual bucket list.
Then, there are those in remission, where all they can think about is how they’re getting better. There’s the guilt that even though some fade away, they drew the lucky straw and for some unknown reason they made it. They celebrate with your family in private, secretly scared that one day IT will return.
Why did they make it?
Why did the person in the next bed not?
Will they be so fortunate if there is a next time?
After all that physical, emotional and mental trauma, the people I speak with tell me the only thing they want is some time in a warm country away from radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and the battle they face (and although I hate that word as it implies the weak lose and the strong win, it’s the way cancer patients use to describe their treatment, whether they live or die).
But they can’t.
They will be tainted with this disease for the rest of their life.
When my dad died earlier this year, he just died. And we still don’t know why. The light switch was flicked off and that was it. And all I can think about, the little string in the whole tangled knot of the bargaining/acceptance grieving process, is that he didn’t suffer. He didn’t have to sit in a hospital day in day out. He didn’t have to feel sick and lose his hair and waste away.
How many times have mum, Loulou and I said (and I feel awful to write this) ‘At least he didn’t have cancer.’
Back to work. In our planning meeting for St George’s Day events back in April, we decided one charity we want to support this year is Cancer Research UK and to raise money by taking part in a Race for Life event. It just so (weirdly) happened Scottish Power, CRUK’s energy sponsor, got in touch a few days later asking if we’d help promote the High 5 Wave at Race for Life in Blackheath on Sunday 5th July. They offered a lovely donation to get us started, so marketing is now in training for the gruelling 10k.
Scottish Power says: “This will be our fourth year working with Cancer Research UK on Race for Life and we’re bringing back the High 5 Wave to help beat cancer sooner. We’re planning to improve on last year’s High 5 Wave by reaching 60,000 high fives to raise £35,000 for Cancer Research UK.
“We believe we have a responsibility to our customers and to our environment. We want to make a difference wherever we can. One in two people in the UK will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime and it is an issue that affects many of our customers and employees.” And they’re right.
How to take part in the High 5 Wave
If you’re heading to Blackheath, look out for the Scottish Power marquee at where you can join the High 5 Wave by visiting our video/photo booths to capture your fun creative high five.
If you can’t take part in a race, there are still ways to show your support and help reach that 60,000 target.
1. Upload a high five image or video
2. Share an image or video
3. Like the High 5 Wave
4. Nominate a friend to upload a high five video or image.
With each passing year, we’re understand cancer a bit better. And screening options are catching the disease earlier giving some the chance to get treatment in time. But there’s still a lot of work to do. With fundraising efforts like these, eventually, cancer will be a thing of the past.