Cancer you prat

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A woman wears a gold watch and a pink bracelet around her wrist. Only her arm and hand can be seen

Today is World Cancer Day 2017. For me, today holds a lot of significance, and this is a very personal expression of my own loss. Maybe World Cancer Day isn’t particularly relevant to you personally, but I hope that this post might still inspire you.

One day, we will beat cancer

In my first post for this website I shared the details of my mum’s cancer – cancer of the bile duct, a rare and hard to diagnose form of a horrendously complex disease. Sometimes cancer can seem overwhelming and difficult to understand, and I find that World Cancer Day is a great chance to simplify the fight. Sadly, lots of young people lose parents to cancer all the time. It’s an unfair and unflinchingly brutal disease which takes lives way too soon. This World Cancer Day, I’m focusing on the fact that if we all work together, one day, we will beat cancer.

The following video is an advert for Cancer Research UK‘s Race for Life in 2013. I often think back to it, and love to repeat the line “cancer you prat”. It is such an empowering and angry advert that motivates me every time I watch it to stand up to cancer and play my part in fighting it.

United we stand

The picture I’ve used for this post is one of my Unity Band, that I bought to support last year’s World Cancer Day. I’ve been wearing it today to remind me that unity is the only way to defeat cancer. Unity is also how we will overcome loss and cope well with death. I didn’t want to battle grief alone, and so I set up this website – the whole aim from the start has been to fight, learn and experience together, and in doing so support and encourage each other.

Grief can be really isolating and scary. Even if you have family members who are experiencing the same loss, as I have, it is still an intensely personal and unique experience. It is vitally important that we stand together to support each other through grief, and I encourage you to check out the ‘Need help?’ section of this website to find practical and emotional support. The British public are too good at respecting taboos, and I want to break down those barriers. Talking about death isn’t nice but it is necessary.

You’ve survived 100% of your bad days

I recently realised something simple that has made a huge difference to the way I cope with my grief. If you are reading this post, that means that you have survived every single one of the bad days. All those days that you thought were impossible. All those tears, fears and failures – you’ve survived them. And whether I know you personally or not, I think you should know that that makes you INCREDIBLE.

A day like World Cancer Day is an inspiring and motivating day despite it being focused on something so rubbish. It reminds me that by uniting against the injustice of death, we can change the world. You can play a small part in making this broken world a better place, and maybe one way you can start is by talking about loss. That could be sharing the story of your own loss, it could be talking to a friend who you know has lost someone recently, or it could be as simple as telling someone you love how important and special they are to you, and how much you treasure their continued presence in your life.

Cancer’s a prat. My mum loved the word prat – it’s the best word to spit and shout at cancer.

Cancer’s a prat. Death is a bitch. But they have nothing on you. You are strong. You will endure. You will survive.

Chat to me and start talking through the taboo by emailing

Beth Rowland