Why jump?

On June 3rd, my man and I will be voluntarily jumping out of a plane. With parachutes, hopefully.

The problem is, he’s scared of heights and I’m afraid of flying.

Because we both believe so strongly in the cause we’re supporting, we’re going to do it anyway, terrifying though it is, and this is just part of the story about why…

Almost 30 years ago, while I was still at school, my Mum had breast cancer. She fought hard, stayed positive and beat it. Hell yes, she kicked breast cancer up the arse and got on with her life. The treatment was long and unpleasant, including intensive chemo which made her unbelievably sick. Home was a difficult place to be for two weeks in every four, as she suffered the side-effects and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Compared to the chemo, radiotherapy was a breeze, just a short treatment each day for a few months. The difficulty was that the treatment centre was in Oxford…and we lived in Swindon. That’s an hour away by car, on a good day. If you have a car. If you can drive. If you’re well enough to drive.

Mum, superstar that she is, got a car, a beat-up old mini which got her there and back for every treatment. She drove herself every time, with friends and family taking it in turns to keep her company.

That’s my Mum, in the picture above, raising money at the annual Brighter Futures Reindeer Run two years ago, with my Dad and their youngest grandson.

Almost 20 years later, Mum had breast cancer again, this time a different type known as inflammatory breast cancer. It has very different symptoms, is very painful in fact. But again, Mum fought hard and made an amazing recovery. Chemo has changed, developed, to the extent that it wasn’t recognisable. Anti-sickness drugs have also changed, so Mum wasn’t so sick. This time, due to the doses delivered first time round, radiotherapy wasn’t an option, but thankfully it also wasn’t necessary.

Shockingly, Swindon still has no radiotherapy unit, despite the many people living there and in the surrounding area who have to travel to Oxford for life-saving treatment.

This is where the parachute jump comes in. The Brighter Futures fundraising team at Great Western Hospital are trying to raise enough money for a treatment unit to provide radiotherapy locally. And we are determined to help, even if it means facing our fears and doing something we never would have imagined.

If you are still reading, thank you for your time and attention. Here’s an irrelevant picture of my Poppet, as a reward!

Now to business – please will you help us to raise funds? If you can donate, however little, that would be amazing and I thank you sincerely. If you can’t donate, please can you share this story with anyone else who might support us.

Team ‘I Believe I Can Fly’

Oh! And please send us lucky, safe-landing, happy thoughts on the day 🌻

Thank you 💜

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