It has been a few weeks since I have written a personal blog, as I have been on a bit of a road trip. Although I suffer with terrible fatigue, I have had to push myself through some incredible presentations and meetings. My work is reaching the level that I have always aspired to, so it is difficult to pass up the many incredible opportunities that are now coming my way. With the combination of Your simPal and my own personal work, many new opportunities are opening up, and more and more people are becoming interested in what we do. This is leading to being invited to present nationally and internationally, my ideas and projects.
Since I got sick, I have lost a lot of my confidence, and despite my outward appearance, enjoy evenings in front of the television to ‘business socialising.’ People are, and always have been my passion, but it is becoming harder to push myself. My brain is loving the challenges, but my body is becoming weaker because of them. So here is my frustration! It has always been my sole ambition to improve the lives of people living with cancer, and now I am able to impact so much which is happening around the world. Surely I can’t stop now, just as I feel we are making real headway?
Maybe it is what I do that has kept my mind occupied and distracted any fears of cancer? There are many different views of that. Some say that is the case, but most are concerned I don’t rest enough. For me there is no middle ground as my mind is just a hub of never ceasing cogs, whirring with new ideas. My view has always been, why have extra life if you don’t use it constructively? But of course, how we spend our time is a very individual thing.
I am finding this stage of my life a very humbling experience for several reasons. Firstly, we are now able to help people in a practical way, and I see incredibly moving applications for help daily. This has led us to the UK Charity Commission, who have been incredibly supportive and helped us to become a registered charity (1172270.) Of course, this is now opening more doors, with large organisations who want to become involved with our work. Word has spread rapidly, and wherever I go there are people that recognise me or are following me on social-media.
I have presented at two conference in the last week, one in Birmingham and one in Marseille. On both occasions I met many people who already knew about my work and were following me on social-media. Many start the conversation with, “I am following you on Twitter,” which is incredible. I feel very honoured that people wish to follow what I do, and give some of their time to it. Time is the biggest thing someone can give, and with so many distractions around today, I am delighted that they chose to give some to me!
Where most of the real work is done though is in private meetings, either before or after the main session. I have had many of these with some very influential people and was even interviewed by a TV crew from America! Of course not all of these go anywhere and there are always many people who like to ‘blow smoke,’ but I would like to think that I know when that is happening and certainly do my best to avoid those people.
What I love most is helping people, either personally or via my contacts. Many people come to me to be connected with others doing similar work. It was obvious to me very early in my cancer experience that most organisations worked in a ‘silo’ manner, meaning they knew little about what was happening outside their organisation. After many years of feeling like I was working in the wilderness, it seems that more and more people are connecting with me, and understanding the real issues out there. The total lack of collaboration in the sector and the fact that a minority of behemoth charities are dominating the domain, but are doing very little to improve the lives of the people they purport to support. Taking a majority of donations in the process, making it more difficult for smaller organisations to get their incredible work ‘out there.’
This week, since we announced our official charity status, we have been contacted by organisations around the globe, with offers of help and support. Who knows where that will lead us, but these are large household names both national and international. Our work is now literally life changing not only for the people we support, but the people working with us. Our small team of staff and supporters see daily what we are doing, even the Charity Commission saying that they have never seen such a venture! Within the next few weeks we will be interviewed by a national newspaper and have a prime spot on their website, as they want to support us to grow and help the many people that apply daily for our services.
It has taken a lot of personal soul searching to get to this stage, and if I’m honest I didn’t anticipate the profile that myself and Your simPal would develop. Strictly, with my poor health and getting older, I should be settling down with my slippers, but I am now feeding from the help we can give to others. This seems like the best drug I can take now. I am grateful of course for the extra life I have received but feel more comfortable that I am now in a position to give something practical back.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who has supported my work in whatever form. Working together we are stronger, and we will continue to ‘rock the boat’ of those who have got too comfortable in the cancer support sector!