I suspect that I, like many people, have been happy to make my monthly contributions to various charities, my Direct Debits would be taken every month and then I would not have to think about my contribution anymore, all very simple.
But I have had this nagging feeling for some time that I could and should be doing more, but what and for who was always a question that I found difficult to answer.
For some years now I have worked in the world of personal injury, in particular those suffering from occupational disease. As part of my normal working life I come across those who are suffering from various forms of illness and disease, often caused through years of exposure to harmful substances and materials. Many of those who I act for had no idea of the dangers they were being exposed to and it is only, many years later on that they start to suffer from their illness.
This is where cancer rears its ugly head. Perhaps, the most high profile of those cancers, which can be caused through past employment, is mesothelioma.
In the UK about 2500 people a year are diagnosed with mesothelioma with exposure to asbestos being responsible for up to 9 out of 10 mesothelioma cases. It can take many years after being exposed to asbestos for mesothelioma to occur. The length of time taken is usually between 15-45 years.
Currently there is no cure for mesothelioma but much can be done to lessen the impact of the symptoms caused by this cruel disease. A multidisciplinary approach would be used – through your GP, Macmillan nurse or hospital Consultant.
During the course of 2013 my last surviving grandparent, my nan, was diagnosed as suffering from cancer. After a lengthy fight, she sadly passed away.
It was during this period that I found out that my granddad had died from cancer as well. He was a cabinet maker and had made the wooden panelling that was used extensively on the London Underground, hidden behind which were asbestos panels that he may well have fitted. I never found out if he died from Mesothelioma but it seems a real possibility that this was the case.
My nan had left clear instructions that if we wanted to do something, then a donation should be made to Cancer Research but I did not just want to make another donation, I wanted to do something more to help in the fight against this cruel disease.
A common theme through all cancer cases that I have come across are the Macmillan nurses. Macmillan nurses specialise in cancer and palliative care, providing support and information to people with cancer, their families, friends and carers, from the point of diagnosis onwards. One in three of us will get cancer and it’s the toughest thing most of us will ever face. When diagnosed with cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support are that team of people in your corner supporting you every step of the way. They had helped support my nan too.
So, decision made, with the approval of my family, I would not make a donation to Cancer Research, I would do something for Macmillan Cancer Support, but what?