It happens in life that we find at some point that we are not the only ones to walk a certain path or go through a certain experience. That is normally a great thing – there is comfort in sharing and feeling part of a group. One group no one wants to be part of, though, is the ‘parents of children with cancer’ group. This past month another little boy close to some friends of ours was diagnosed with a brain tumour – the same as Oscar’s – and it devastated me. This boy has all the best medical experts and support around him and his family to ensure that he will get through this, and even in the relatively short time since our charity launched there is new research underway that will one day change how these tumours are treated. I’m so proud that the work that we’ve done in the last 2.5 years allows us to be part of this ground-breaking research.
This little boy’s diagnosis reminded me of the frustrations I felt when Oscar was ill. I would go for drives at night time when no one else was on the roads and I would use the car to scream in – it is very much out of my comfort zone to scream, but it needed to be done sometimes and it would make things a little easier to manage. Needless to say I always felt a little stupid just in case someone saw me (I don’t think they did, but if so then I am most likely not the only crazy person driving around screaming life’s pain out!).
Now I tend to cry more than scream, but I still use my car as the place where I let my emotions run wild; some days I can chat happily away in my car keeping Oscar up to date on what we’re doing, but inevitably I always end up crying a little. It is still so hard to keep it together every day so I have to have my outlet. I often stop the car somewhere, have a good cry, look at myself in the mirror and tell myself that we’ll be fine. I look into my eyes and will myself not to cry anymore, then I tap my cheeks a bit – sometimes they need slightly harder slapping – to start looking normal again, breathe deeply and centre everything inside me. I have never done yoga or meditation or any of that but I have my own method of focusing and aligning points inside myself. I am a great believer of mind over matter – ironic I know!
While it was not to be for Oscar, the fight against brain tumours continues and the work we do keeps me focused. Knowing that the funds we have raised so far are being used on research programmes that could one day change how children with brain tumours are treated is a surreal place to be in after such a short time. Knowing we can provide some kind of hope to other families makes me so proud of what all our supporters and fundraisers have achieved.
This boy’s family needs hope – hope can carry you through the darkest of times. They found our charity and can see the potential difference the research we aim to fund can make to children like their boy. They are a strong family and I want to deliver more hope to them. If only I could deliver it wrapped up and make it carry them through the coming months as their son goes through treatment. I can’t do that, but I can carry on with the work that the charity is doing and continue to raise funds to fight paediatric brain tumours. This weekend I’ll be joined by 84 other people running through mud and over obstacles in the Major Series North. We’ve run it previously for Oscar but this time we’re doing it for a little boy and his family who need all our strength, hope and courage.