So.. this year I have decided to give up drinking (and more importantly smoking which I stupidly started doing again last year) for the month of October. The smoking is intended to be permanent. I did it before for ELEVEN years (I know, I know. I am the classic, can't just have one girl, the fact of which I forgot to remind myself last year when I had one the night before my mother's funeral.) so I know I can do it again.
The reason I'm doing this is not just for health reasons however, though of course that's a jolly good thing and my liver will be grateful.
Unfortunately a very dear friend of ours has recently been diagnosed with throat cancer and is currently undergoing radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden. We've known Ash since we got married, and we all (kids included) regard him as part of the family, so we're obviously trying to support him in any way we can at a particularly rubbish time for him. (And it is rubbish. I had really no idea quite how brutal radiotherapy can be. I know it is for the greater good in the end, but it's almost a case of the cure being worse than the disease.)
Before Ash started the radiotherapy, he was planning to drink milk when he was out as alcohol was likely to burn his throat (as it happens that's not been the case as he struggled even with milk) and I jokingly said I'd keep him company and not drink for October. But when I thought about it, I decided if I wasn't going to drink I may as well try and raise money for the Royal Marsden where Ashley is being treated.
So that's what I'm doing. Since Ash has been ill I've spent alot of time at the Marsden with him and I cannot praise the staff there enough for their exemplary kindness and care of all their patients. Everyone from the senior consultants to the cleaners seem to have an extra layer of empathy and understanding than is normal in an NHS hospital. There is a calmness and hopefulness about the place, despite the reasons why people are there. I've witnessed a little bald headed girl in a wheelchair in the canteen joyfully accepting a treat of a muffin just like any normal kid her age, and seen people in agony laughing and joking with the nurses. The atmosphere on the wards is calm and unhurried, the staff at the reception desk are kind and informative, and seem to know the majority of patients by name. In short, it's the kind of place if the worst were to happen to you or yours, that you would absolutely want to be treated.
I know there are alot of claims on people's purses, which is why I deliberately haven't set a target on this, but if you could spare anything, however small, please do support my fundraising efforts, if you can. For all the Ashleys of the world. Sadly there are far too many.