`LIFE’S TOO SHORT…
My life after Cancer`
By Karen De Monte
Many times I expect.
I know I certainly have.
It wasn`t until I received my Breast Cancer diagnosis in April, 2021, that this simple saying actually meant something to me.
It was April 7th to be exact.
Anyone who has received their own diagnosis will know only too well that certain dates stay printed in your memory.
Like everyone, Cancer has played a part in my family life, and after losing my beloved Dad, Tony, I decided I wanted to do something…anything, to try and make even the smallest of differences.
After receiving my own diagnosis, my `want to do something`, became `a need to do something`.
To hear those few words ..`You have Cancer` for me, was like an `out of body experience`.
My wonderful husband Phil, was sitting right next to me, holding my hand, but it still felt as if I was all alone, the world coming to a complete standstill.
The consultant’s mouth was moving, and words were coming out, yet I wanted to shout and scream…” You’re talking to the wrong person.
No, not me !”.
Growing up, it was literally the dreaded `C word`.
Was it just me, or did anyone else grow up feeling that the actual word `Cancer` shouldn’t be said out loud ?
I’m guessing it’s just how things were back then, all those years ago….I mean, I am 53, so we are going back a fair bit now….
As a child, it took me a long time to actually figure out what this mysterious `C` word actually was.
Whenever my parents, or any other adult actually, spoke about anyone suffering from cancer, particularly my Mum, bless her, their voices were always no more than a whisper, as if lightning would strike anyone who dared to utter the word
`CANCER` out loud !!
Perhaps it’s because there was a much smaller chance of survival in those days…
Thank goodness things have changed so much.
Anyway, back to my own diagnosis….(sorry, I do tend to go off track a little…)
I am the type of person that doesn’t cope too well when left to my own thoughts.
I knew that if I didn’t find something to occupy my time, I would suffer with my mental health.
I had been previously working in childcare, but I was no longer, physically, or mentally up to it .
I needed to challenge myself….and that is just what I did.
I set myself a personal challenge to raise £10,000 over a period of 2 years, for the wonderful charity, `NEWBURY CANCER CARE`.
They had helped me and my family during the last few days of Dad’s life, andnow they were helping me on my own journey.
Where on earth would I start ??
I`ve always loved the `Calendar Girls` movie, and greatly admired those original ladies.
Why not create our own !!
Obviously I would need a lot of support, so I began by setting up a fundraising facebook group, `Hope, Strength and Courage`.
Within two weeks of posting about the idea, and asking for volunteers, my little group was flooded with volunteers for not only modelling, but also hair and makeup, photographers, Graphic Artists, venues…..it was incredible.
All these wonderful people were either on their own journey, in remission or recovery, or had lost a loved one.
The Calendar was a huge success, and within a few months, we had raised £7,000.
Since then that number has grown and grown, with many different events, including `Mediumship Evenings, Bingo nights, Christmas Fayres, sponsored events etc`.
We have just passed the £25,000 mark, and still going strong, with many exciting events planned going forward.
I no longer have a limit or time scale, just the wish to raise as much money as possible.
December 1st, 2021…and I was given the most incredible news that I am now `Cancer Free`, …another date that is printed on my brain, but for all the right reasons.
There are still a lot of times when the tiredness is just too much for me, and I have to take some time away from it all, but I have learnt to listen to my body, and take my foot off the pedal when it tells me too.
I have made up a bucket list for myself, which I will be sharing with you going forward, alongside the fundraising events.