Firstly I want to start by saying I really don’t want to do this. I detest asking for help - even my besties doing my shopping whilst we are in ‘lockdown’ has messed with my head. I like to look after myself as much as possible and am fiercely independent! Recent events have meant that times have changed & now I really am a point where I need to swallow my pride and ask for the help I have been refusing for so long.
The short version of my story is, I was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer in July 2018.
I’ve managed to outstay my original welcome for which I am truly and utterly grateful. The treatments I have endured have been, at times, extremely rough to take but as any cancer patient will tell you, whilst it’s working it’s all worth it (mostly anyway).
My constant focus has been my two boys - I count milestones and aim for goals continuously- the next Birthday, the next event & I’m always juggling in my mind whether or not I think I will make it. So far so good and I can’t believe I will get to see my eldest son turn 14 in 2 weeks' time! Being alive and seeing my first born turn 14 is something I didn't think I would ever see (if I stay in lockdown I’ve weighed up the chances of making this and I think I’m fine). I also expect to reach 41 a couple of weeks later - again something I thought would be pushing and making it to 40 last year was itself, a major milestone.
Anyway, I digress, lately I've had a variation of treatment But unfortunately it hasn’t worked, so the conclusion is that the current chemos are no longer doing it's job. My cancer has grown accustomed to being blasted by it & it’s just not having the desired effect. I may have one more NHS option to try, but in current climate it’s a huge risk to weigh up. Please don’t get me wrong, the NHS are amazing & where they can they are continuing treatment in very difficult and potentially dangerous conditions. I always knew I would get to this point and I always knew I would then have some further tough decisions to make.
The problem is although I have managed to save some money (whilst also trying to ensure my boys will be taken care of) and weighed up options, I could never have predicted other bastard C word 'COVID-19' joining the party & ruining any chance I stood of becoming involved in a medical trial ( they are all pretty much stopped at mo). The same is true of most alternative treatment options (being unavailable at present). Being unable to travel anywhere has also obstructed my options in a colossal way. So, now I really do need help!
So, whilst, if I stay indoors completely, I am hoping to both avoid catching or dying from Covid-19, it looks like it might indirectly get me anyway by taking away any further NHS options I may have had.
This fundraising will hopefully afford me the option and chance, to find alternative treatments and other private routes for treatment.
In the event, I don't get chance to utilise these funds in their entirety, because Covid goes on too long, I promise the money raised won't be in vein - any remaining funds would be utilised and in a combination of ways, either a worthy charity, the Royal Marsden hospital, another patient in my position, my two sons or someone who needs it.
Since diagnosis, a key milestone those closest to me know the importance of, is being given the chance to see my baby boy start secondary school in September. This now holds even more importance to me as he never officially left primary school & I’ve promised him we will redo all the celebrations when we are able to. I’d also love the chance of one more Christmas with those closest to me and a little more time to make more memories with my nearest and dearest. Memories will be my lasting legacy.
I know the timing is abysmal, that everyone is struggling with Covid-19 and it’s impact in various ways. Many of you may have lost jobs, being paid less, or may have directly/indirectly lost someone close.
Based on all of this, I completely understand if you can’t donate. Every penny counts and puts me a step closer to having the chance of holding off what is likely the inevitable. If you are unable to donate, sharing is caring, please could I ask that you take a couple of minutes to share this page and my story.
Thank you for taking the time to read this far and a special thank you to everyone that goes on to make a donation and shares this link. It means an awful lot!
Also thank you to all of you who have support me/ us thus far - it’s amazing how just reaching outand offering to be there can make such a huge difference & in the last 2 years I have really never known love like it .
- Mark O'Brien
- Leslie Long