'Carmen has cancer.'
We've all heard the numbers: 1 in 2 people in the UK will get cancer. The data resonates, but unfortunately it's still too easy to abstract. Statistically, I get it. But that's somebody else's relative, friend or colleague, not ours, right?
Our eldest daughter was unexpectedly diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in October. When I heard those three words, time stood still but my mind raced, searching for explanations - and a solution. We need to be strong, I thought. There is a way through this. There has to be. And whilst I'm a huge advocate of positive thinking, it immediately dawned on me that this situation was way beyond our control. We were now utterly in the hands of healthcare professionals - the surgeon, oncologist, endocrinologist, doctors and nurses - medical scientists and researchers.
Carmen had a thyroidectomy a few weeks later, which was followed up with radio-iodine treatment in January (cancer cells had also been detected in lymph nodes during her surgery).
We received wonderful news that she was clear on 9th February. Tragically, such a positive response to treatment is far from universal and way too many people are still suffering and dying from this dreadful disease.
By supporting the amazing work of Cancer Research UK, we want to show our immense gratitude to everybody who has helped Carmen, her family, friends and colleagues through these dark and difficult months. As the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research, influence and information, Cancer Research UK funds around 50% of cancer research in the UK and has an ambition to see 3 in 4 patients survive cancer by 2034.
So, during May, I'll be raising money for the charity's critical research. Running has always given me time and space to think, so I'm aiming to cover 200 miles (including four half-marathons) in 31 days, joining other Wonderful Warriors taking part in our Miles Better campaign. £10 per mile would be fabulous!
I'll be posting runs and photos throughout the month and you can keep up to date with my progress during May by subscribing to update emails if you like!
If you'd like to support one of our wonderful charities with your own challenge as part of our Miles Better campaign, you can find out more at our Miles Better page.
Thank you, everybody, from the bottom of my heart. We can beat cancer.
All funds raised will be passed to the charity irrespective of whether my target is reached, not reached or exceeded.