A few weeks ago I met and had coffee with an awe-inspiring lady who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she had two very young children, her youngest was just 5 months old.
A few years later and she is still suffering the aftershocks - ongoing reconstructive surgeries and the problems associated with these such as infections and rejection, daily chemo tablets for the next 10y, weekly hospital appointments, the fear and dread of the cancer returning, the decision as to whether to go ahead with preventative surgery such as having her ovaries removed... whilst dealing with this she is still tackling the day to day grind that is being a mum to small children, a wife, a friend, a woman.
This lady and her family are exactly the kind of people we want to be helping.
She described the cancer perfectly as like dropping a pebble into water - the ripples portray all of the people affected by a cancer diagnosis.
First you have the person with cancer, then you have their immediate support network, husband/wife, parents, children, brothers and sisters, in-laws, then you have their friends, then work colleagues, other mums in the playground, acquaintances even... we want to provide a service to whole families. A safe and free place to spend quality time together, to get away from the black cloud that is cancer even if just for a short while, to make memories that will last forever.
I was amazed to learn from this lady that there is a charity offering holidays like we aim to, only specifically to ladies with breast cancer, but that she would not have been eligible because she didn't have to undergo chemo or radiotherapy - like this made her battle any less worthy!
We will be offering holidays to anyone diagnosed with cancer, regardless of their age, gender, type of cancer or treatment.
This meeting has reinforced my view that the goal that we are trying to achieve is absolutely needed. It has also renewed my passion; I want to get there sooner rather than later - the latter, sadly, may be too late for some.