I’ve spent a lot of time, more than usual, thinking about Rosie over the past week or so. It’s six months today since Rosie died. At the beginning of last week, together with our families I attended the Chai Cancer Care fundraiser. It was a truly amazing event. 800 people enjoying a lovely meal at the Roundhouse in Camden in support of an important cause. We shared a table with three other engaging, fascinating, genuinely lovely people. I’ll come back to them in a moment.
On 4th February of this year, 2015, Rosie posted this on her Facebook page,“So many of you have offered to help since my diagnosis and have asked what you can do. Here it is – please support CRUK this World Cancer Day. Or for something closer to home please donate to Chai Cancer Care which has been a real lifeline for me.”
By now you’ll be wondering what Chai Cancer Care is, if you don’t already know. Well they’re an incredible support charity, with their HQ near to our home. Rosie benefited from a variety of their services. And others in the family, including me, have also turned to Chai for help. It’s because of this that I decided to be a part of a fundraising video, which you can see below. I was asked by their chief exec, Lisa Steele, if I would take part. I really didn’t have to give too much thought to that request. This was my way of giving something back.
The other person in the video is Tara. It was she, together with her husband and best friend that we shared our table with. I didn’t know Tara but coincidently I had grown up just round the corner from her husband Jeffrey. Tara, like Rosie has secondary breast cancer that has spread to her liver. I’m over the moon to say that she’s battling on and her treatment is having a positive impact on the liver lodgers, as Rosie would call them. I didn’t really know Jeffrey but speaking to him about our shared experiences it felt like I’d known him forever.
Before Rosie died I’d had a conversation with someone very senior at my office. His wife also has cancer and continues her fight. He said that we were members of a very exclusive club that no one wants to be a member of; that of husbands whose wives were living through cancer. Cancer is an oddly leveling disease. It’s unimpressed by wealth or intellect, it picks its victims with little regard for the world around them. And it gives its bystanders, friends and relatives, a strong reason to come together to fight.
And that’s precisely what we’re trying to do as we start to put in place the building blocks for Rosie’s charity. I’m hoping before too long that I’ll be able to talk about the charity here. In the meantime I carry on, together with my children, to make the very best of what we have together. As I say in the video, “Life is for living”.