A Day To Unite

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Today is World Cancer Day.

For those of you who know me, you’ll know that Cancer has had quite a grip on my family. My late Nanna and Great Uncle Alan suffered from Cancer, my Granny has had and beaten it, and my Dad was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma (a type of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma) in August 2014.

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It’s safe to say that my entire adult life has been affected by Cancer in one way or another. And it really, really sucks. It’s baffling to think that in 2016, with all our technological and medical advances, we still don’t have a definitive cure for Cancer. The only way that’s going to happen, is if we all unite.

Last year, I ran the 10km Race For Life, and I was so overwhelmed by everyone’s support, and having my Dad there to cheer me on was the most incredible and humbling experience. I’m doing it again this year with my sister, so if you do want to show us a little bit of support, and help us in the war against Cancer, please feel free to check out my Just Giving page and donate whatever you can. Or you could even sign up for a Race For Life event yourself! If I can run 10km, then anyone can. Seriously, I’m incredibly unfit.

If we all unite and support each other, we can give Cancer the kick up the arse it needs.

You can find a list of shops near you selling Unity Bands here.

This blog, and my Race For Life, is dedicated to my wonderful, inspirational and always hilariously grumpy Dad. You can follow his Lymphoma Diaries on his blog here.

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Jessica xXx

 

Swim For Life


It rained. And I’m not talking about normal rain. I’m talking about RAIN rain. Biblical rain. Torrential rain. WET RAIN. Before I even started, I was feeling rubbish, standing waiting in the rain, wind and cold with a couple hundred other bedraggled runners. My tiny cold face was poking out of the hood of my cagoule in a hilariously unattractive way, and my running leggings were getting more and more see-through the wetter they got.

Photo by Tim Holyoake

When the time came for the big group warm-up, I joined the group of shivering runners edging their way reluctantly towards the stage. The presenters from Heart radio made us feel energised, the minute’s silence reminded us all why we were standing in the rain, and the dance to Uptown Funk injected a much-needed lift.

We were then divided into runners (50 minutes or less), joggers (50 minutes to 1 hour 30) and walkers (1 hour 30+). I joined the majority down the middle and opted to jog, aiming to finish in 1 hour 30.

Photo by Tim Holyoake

Miraculously, and going against the 100% chance of rain all morning, as soon as I crossed the start line, there was a break in the clouds and the rain eased, creating a buzz.

The route was hard. Really hard. It took us through Devonshire’s famous country lanes, which all seemed to be uphill. Although it had stopped raining, a lot of the route was a bit flooded, making the rocky paths into slippery streams and the grassy fields into muddy river beds. For the weeks leading up to the race, I had been hoping for cooler weather than the recent heatwaves, but being able to see my breath for the first 2k wasn’t exactly what I had in mind!

The first 5k seemed to go on forever, and I thought I would never be warm and dry again. After the halfway mark though, I seemed to start enjoying it more, even though I was tired, wet, hungry and desperate for a wee. The volunteers along the route were fantastic, clapping and cheering on every individual that passed them, handing out water and moral support.

At about 6.5k, I passed my dad with his camera, which made me smile and dig a little deeper to carry on lolloping around like a soggy bambi.

The last 2k, my heart was pounding with excitement to cross the finish line. I was nearly done and I couldn’t wait to stuff my face with junk food for the rest of the day without feeling bad. When I got to the 9k marker, I convinced myself that it had already been an hour and a half, and that I had failed in meeting my personal target. I won’t lie, I felt a bit shit at that point. I wanted to prove to myself that I could actually achieve something sport-related. I carried on, feeling slightly deflated, but still determined.

Eventually, I could see my dad, the finish line, and the timer. I was stunned that it read 1:19:30. So I sprinted. I summoned the year 8 in me who actually enjoyed the 100m, and I ran what felt like the fastest I’ve ever run, but was probably actually a bit like a baby giraffe walking for the first time. 

I did it. 1:19:45!

Photo by Tim Holyoake

 

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated, showed support and reminded me of the importance of these kind of events. There is still time to donate if you fancy it.

I’m sure I’ll be taking part in another fundraising event soon, but for now, I’m going to devour this entire pizza and not care about the lactose-related consequences.

 Check out my dad’s blog for his take on the day. 🙂 http://www.tenpencepiece.net/blog/

My Own Marathon

In 7 weeks time, I’m taking part in the 10km Race for Life with my sister. We’re doing it for everyone whose lives have been affected by cancer, but especially in honour of our dad, who has Non-Hogkins Lymphoma. I honestly don’t really know a lot about it, because I try and avoid researching it for fear of upsetting myself, but I know it’s not great, and it’s kind of rare. So instead of sitting around wallowing in self-pity, we’re going to attempt to join thousands of women in running to raise money so that other people don’t have to go through what we’re going through.

10km is roughly 6.2 miles, which might not seem very much, but for me it’s a marathon. I cannot think of many things I dislike more than running. I’m starting to get a bit better at it, but unfortunately I’m still not the girl who can list running as one of her hobbies. More a necessity so that I don’t look like a complete novice when race day comes around, and so that I don’t let down all of you wonderful people who have sponsored us.

So far, we have raised £430 (our original target was £200). A lot of these donations have been from people who read our dad’s blog http://www.tenpencepiece.net/blog/ – we had no idea he was so popular! For those of you who have contributed, thank you. 

The training is going well (finally) after weeks of procrastinating on my part (my sister Emily has been doing a lot better than me- although I think the element of competition is a great motivator for someone like me). I think I’ve finally found my rhythm and the workout system that works best for me. For those interested, I’m going running on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and most Sundays, and doing Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred on the inbetween days to maintain my strength. 

I’ll end the blog by saying if you haven’t donated, and would like to show your support, please do. Our new target is £500, but I have a sneaking suspicion that we’re going to smash that.

Here’s the link to my fundraising page. Thank you! 🙂

https://www.justgiving.com/jessicaholyoake/