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June 19, 2011

A Positive Take on Cancer

by Val Reynolds
The worst news

The worst news

Unfortunately these days, there can be hardly anyone who has not known someone, relative or friend, who has suffered from some type of cancer.  Or indeed has the disease themselves.  

What once was called ‘The Big C’, because no-one dared speak its name has now become so prevalent as to be almost a household word.  

Of course, over the decades, research and new forms of treatment have meant that it need not mean the end.  Just as we know of many sad cases where any treatment can only be palliative, so we know of others where cure, or at least lengthy periods of remission are now quite possible.
Nevertheless, being diagnosed with the illness still causes profound shock, particularly in the young.  When the daughter of a friend of mine, Dina, discovered she had cancer, she was in her thirties and totally devastated.  But two years on from diagnosis she did a brilliant thing.  On hearing that the hospital where she was being treated, UCLH, was opening a brand new cancer treatment centre and was looking to raise money for a tranquil winter garden for patients, she set about organising a charity auction.  I was privileged to be invited along to this and had an absolutely fantastic evening. Sheer hard work and chutzpah had meant that there were the most fantastic prizes on offer, and for such a good cause, no-one held back on the bids.  
The auction was jollied along by Brad as the auctioneer, with no former experience I was given to understand, but as an out-of-work actor he gave it his all!  Everyone did their bit, from Time Out, Dina’s former employers, to the staff at Foyles in whose gallery the auction was held, to the caterer who provided nibbles at cost price.  And many more I’m sure that I was unaware of.  The best thing of all was that by the end of the evening the hoped-for target of £10,000 was surpassed.  Dina’s smile said it all!
If you’d like to give a donation to this wonderful cause, just go to the website, read more about it along with Dina’s own story and click a few more pounds over.  
Cancer is a hugely scary thing.  A beautiful winter garden will go some way to calm those fears.
Jeannette Nelson, Contributing author

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