This year I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer, known as Clear Cell Carcinoma. I also had endometrial cancer, but hopefully that's gone now. At the beginning of August I had surgery to remove what I call The Melon - a tumour the size of ... well, a melon. Like this.
I haven't seen my 'little' brother, Jonty, for 10 years. I miss him. It's almost 20 years since my two brothers and I have been in the same room together. I can't actually believe it's been so long, I don't know where time goes. This has taken on more significance with my cancer diagnosis and I'm longing to create some new memories for all of us.
I've lived in the UK for almost 18 years now, Jonty lives in South Africa and has never been over here to see me or Rob and his nephew and niece due to finances. The exchange rate is insane. It's hard and email and Skype don't really do the trick, do they? Not when you'd like to 'touch skin' and taste one of his roast dinners again.
The cost of getting my brother here is beyond both our means at the moment. People think authors earn lots of money, but unless you're JK Rowling, most don't, so I need some help, please. We need to raise enough money for the dreaded visa all South Africans need, as well as for his aeroplane ticket. I hope to feed him at least once a day while he's here, so need funds for food and, when I'm feeling well enough, a bit of fun - like a cup of coffee or a trip to the Cotswolds. Or Wales. Or to see his brother, nephew, niece, friends and cousins who live in the UK. I can't keep him a prisoner in my little stone cottage the whole time. Or can I? Transport is expensive, and I need to factor all these things in.
I've started chemotherapy , but it's not gone very well so far, and I've realised I'm in for a tougher fight than I first anticipated. Any funds raised will be used to get him here and support him while he's here. I'm not going to use the words bucket list or anything morbid like that, as I fully intend kicking this cancer in the butt. But another large, male foot to help me kick it would make it easier and make me, and my brothers, happy.
It would be great to raise enough money to get him here for Christmas. I can't remember the last time we spent Christmas together, so the sooner the better as far as I'm concerned. These things take time, I know, and of course tickets go up in price during the silly season. We're happy to get a cheap ticket, even if that involves an airline with outside toilets. Ideally we'd like him to stay for six months, and as I said, I need to feed him. And me. Occasionally.
I've had amazing support from my family and friends both here and spread across the world. They cook, they clean, they shop, they hold my hand, they say many prayers, they send kind, loving words. They're marvellous and I can't thank them enough for what they've already done and continue doing for me.
Having Jonty here would be a blessing for both of us and our 'big' brother. It would mean more to me than you can imagine to have both my brothers beside me during this battle. Every little helps, so whether it's a pound or a bit more, everything helps. You can also help by spreading the word among your friends and social media networks. I'll be honest and confess this all makes me a bit uncomfortable, but the love and support I've experienced from everyone, even strangers, has been amazing and so I'm taking the plunge and launching this campaign.
For those of you who like such things, I'll be happy to send you a free ebook of one of my books when you make a donation.
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