I have been married for 42 years, have two sons, and 3 wonderful grandchildren. Until July 2007 I was a self-employed Business Consultant, specialising in the ladies clothing industry. It was then that I was diagnosed with stage4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma (a rare blood cancer,) and given six months to live! Aggressive chemotherapy followed plus a stem-cell transplant from an unrelated donor via the wonderful Anthony Nolan charity. The next few years were a massive rollercoaster, in and out of hospital with many serious complications. My immune system struggling to keep away any infections. But this was the start of my real challenge, trying to find a purpose for my life! I was unable to do anything physical or stressful so going back to my old life was out of the question!
Seeing how poor the cancer support sector really was, being so disjointed and not really addressing any practical issues, I decided to talk out about it to see if I was the only one who felt that way. I wasn’t, and very quickly friends of mine had started me a website to help spread the word. This site is now the most popular cancer blog in the UK, and I am frequently invited to speak around the world about my experiences. I can now use my influence to change things for everyone affected by cancer, and I have been able to start a unique charity SimPal that gives free phones and sim cards to anyone affected by cancer. The only charity of it’s kind in the world. The rest of my life is dedicated to helping others across all cancers and around the globe.
Yes this terrible disease has taken so much from me, but has shown me positive experiences I could have only imagined before. Cancer certainly took my old life, and I’m still learning to live in this extra time I have been given!
I am an official support partner of the Grove Hotel in Bournemouth. The only hotel in the UK specifically for people affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions.