man and woman holding hands

Thoughts After Someone Loses Their Life to Cancer

Cancer – everyone hates hearing that word, right? For years it’s something that has hit people around me.

You hear about people to went to school with, their parents or relatives being diagnosed. Then there comes a time when it happens to your own. You’re aware that down the family history some people have suffered from it, some best it and some didn’t. But it doesn’t mean they didn’t fight it.

The fact that there’s over 200 cancers in the world makes this planet a very, very scary place to be. Cancer is happening right now. We ask ourselves why such an evil disease exists. The answer? I wish there was a valid one.

These things don’t just happen in films

Have you ever seen My Sister’s Keeper? I cried at that film, it’s so sad. However, I never really took into consideration how I would feel if someone close to me was diagnosed with cancer. That was until my uncle heard his likely diagnosis of cancer.

At the time they thought it was lymphoma. There was so much optimism to fight it as it’s a common type of cancer and the treatment would help. Sadly, this wasn’t the case. You know how everyone’s body is different? Well, my uncle’s body was hit harder by cancer than we thought. And it wasn’t only the physical aspects that changed. His actual diagnosis was neuroendocrine tumours.

Neuroendocrine? That’s the brain? Well, ‘neuro’ does relate to the nervous system. The reason why we hadn’t heard anything about this type of cancer before is because it’s a rare type. Me and mum went to ring each other at the same time pretending to one another that each of us weren’t worrying. But that wasn’t the truth. My heart was pounding with wonder and my mum was doing that thing where you’re trying to hold it together for someone.

What are neuroendocrine tumours?

Neuroendocrine cells are in the majority of organs in our body and have usually spread before they’re found. All of this information was a lot to take in but I couldn’t just let go of the feeling of hope I was holding onto.

If anything, I hoped for those around be to be stronger, and for me to be just as strong for them.

It’s one of the most difficult things to do when all you want to do is break down and cry – and several times you end up doing so.

Heartache is something that can tear you apart – especially seeing two people married for 40 years come to the end of their lives together.

The person who had the greatest amount of strength throughout all of this was uncle Dom. Knowing how concerned he used to be if I had the slightest of headaches to a severe migraine, he didn’t think it was fair to suffer pain. I can’t even imagine the amount of pain he was in. But he was still so invested in hearing about how we were and what we’ve been up to.

Keeping spirits high is an important thing to do during these times

Emotions can be very high. You’ve got to try your best to understand what someone’s going through. Sometimes, being there is all you can do.

As much as I would’ve loved for uncle Dom to have been there watching us run at the Race for Life event in Manchester, I hoped he was looking over me and Danny on the day. I told him I was doing the run for him so that’s what I had to do.

As soon as I heard the word ‘cancer’, alarm bells rang and I said, “I’m gonna look for a run with Cancer Research UK”.

It happened to be that, Race for Life was taking place on Sunday 14th July – the day that marked 40 years of marriage for my auntie and uncle. I can’t bring into so many words how I felt during that day. It was difficult for sure.

There are audio clips that you listen to before the race begins. Of course, tears were strolling down my face and I wasn’t the only one. Danny has been with me through every emotion. But when he had tears I wondered if I’d be able to do it. I stayed determined because I knew that the hardest part hadn’t hit me yet.

Heading towards the finish line

The part I was kinda dreading the most was approaching the finish line. And it was even more than I imagined it to be. As soon as I seen ‘FINISH’ in the distance, that was it. I ran faster and stayed focused, looking straight ahead.

When I reached the finish line I was shaking, not because of the energy used to participate in the race, it was all of the emotion I was holding inside in order to complete the race. Family cheered and I think the best reaction that got me was my dad’s proud expression on his face.

My auntie came looking for me and I was heading in her direction to run up to her. That moment was what it was all about. The huge hug from her was as if it was just us two in that moment in time. I felt her pain. But I also felt so much love. The hug had enough power to be from my auntie and uncle together.

Another date to remember

Uncle Dom’s birthday is coming up next month and being the organised person I am, I already bought his birthday card before he passed away. I’ll think of something special to commentate the day. I’m so pleased and amazed that we have reached £1,088 in our fundraising for Cancer Research UK.

I feel like it’s all over and I need to be doing something else. Maybe the series of blog posts I’ve written will help to raise awareness. I really hope they do.

Cancer might take our loved ones but it’ll never take the memories.

I’d like to thank Rosie at Race for Life, for being so understanding and helping to support me with raising awareness of uncle Dom’s story. For information on where to find your nearest Race for Life visit: https://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org

cloudy sky during the daytime

Worrying Over the Little Things

Ah, worrying over the little things is more common with people than you think. I like to think I’m a lot more in control of my worrying mind nowadays and that my ridiculously worrying days are over. For the most part that’s true but there are still small parts of me where the worrier in me remains. Maybe not always ‘worry’ but a constant wonder, you know?

Take the things that haven’t even happened yet. I get a sense of fear when thinking about seeing certain people in a sudden situation. Or, I still hold onto the wonder of what someone thinks of me if they see me. It’s weird because I know damn right that the person on the other side wouldn’t even have a care in the world.

Here’s what I (and you if you’re in the same boat) need to remember…

  1. There are amazing things happening in your life right now, try to spend more time focusing on those.
  2. Time spent worrying is often time wasted. Use your time wisely and think about the happiest things in your life.
  3. Whenever something’s getting to you (even though it probably shouldn’t), talk to someone because it will help.
  4. You can always write about your thoughts, just like me. Writing definitely is my therapy as it helps me to release what’s on my mind.
  5. Whenever you figure out the small triggers of your worry, try to distance yourself from them without giving them too much attention.

Living with your partner can help to reduce the negative thoughts and wonder going through your mind. They want you to be happy so don’t forget how lucky you are to have a home together and to cherish their company with every chance you get.

Hold onto the closest people in your life, they’ll always help you to see the brighter side to life, no matter what’s going on. A short and sweet post but something to think about, right?

I hope this post helps you if you’ve been worrying about the little things.

angel wings coming out of a love heart shape

Just Because I Smile Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Miss You

Today I smiled a whole lot more than I have done over the last few weeks. Losing someone can tear you to pieces or it can help you to become stronger. There’s nothing anyone can say that really makes it better but it does help to know that there are people around you that care. When you start to smile more, it doesn’t mean that you miss them any less.

The person you lost wants you to be happy

They want you to continue to cherish all of the amazing things there are to life; even though there’s evil. Looking over you, they want to see you making more memories; even though they’re no longer there to make them with.

Listen to sad songs from time to time but don’t dig yourself too far into a hole where all you have are sad lyrics and darkness. Be grateful for all of the good times you’ll forever hold close to your heart. Remember the upbeat person that they were and add their spirit to your life.

There are going to be times that aren’t as easy as others. Finding ways to smile more can help. Don’t neglect the possibility of laughter and warmth from your loved ones.

Uncle Dom, whenever I smile, remember it doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. The acceptance of losing you has hit me hard. Knowing you would want us all to be strong as difficult as it can be, is what I hope for.

I’ll smile when I think about your vocabulary of words; those rock ‘n’ roll dance moves, the classic Irish accent; the time you gave to listen; your strength when suffering; most of all, your love for us all. You’re not here in person for me to tell you all of this so I hope that by using some of your magic, the message will get to you.

The next challenge

Race for Life is getting closer. I’m going to do my best to hold it together. At the end though, it’s likely I’ll cry wishing you were here. It’s time to accept that there’s nothing we can do about that. We have to do everything in our power to live your life on. A piece of you will always remain a part of us.

https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/tasha-and-danny

rows of church candles

There’s No Set Time to Grieve for the Ones You Love

Many times I’ve spoken about losing loved ones but here I am again, sharing the feelings of losing another family member. Uncle Dom, another soul taken to heaven too soon.

I remember when I was younger and my grandad received one card in particular when my granny passed away. Some of the words read, “…time will heal.” It’s true. But remember that ‘time’ is different for everyone. There’s no measurement of time that determines how long you should grieve for.

I underestimated the amount tears I’d cry. With experience of losing close family members before you think it won’t be as hard. But it is and that’s the honest truth. That’s because each individual person leaves a mark on your heart in their own special way. Uncle Dom left plenty with me – his voice of compliments on repeat; a pint to raise cheers with family and friends; and making memories with everyone.

There’s one thing I can’t promise and that’s not to cry. It’s very hard when you’re remembered by so many people near and far. Even when I think I’m okay, it only takes something small to trigger emotions. Either that or I see flashbacks – a rush of childhood memories; to growing up; to now. This can’t be where the journey ends?

You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
– Winnie the Pooh

Uncle Dom was so brave. He never complained when he got ill, he might have had some mood swings here and there but nothing other than what you’d expect to be going through was he was.

During his life he referred to things as being ‘magic’ and the fact he kept his spirits as high as possible for those around him during the hardest times was, in my eyes, magical.

It’s kinda hard not to dampen the mood. It was always granny and grandad or auntie Linda and uncle Dom. No doubt it’ll take me a while to get used to it. Even though I said I’m bound to cry at times, I’ll do my best to be as strong as I can. Auntie Linda needs you to shine bright in the sky to show her that you’re looking over her each day.

You don’t have to have it all together every single day. Life can be so hard and it’s okay not be okay. Don’t forget to surround yourself with the ones that love you.

Life can change within a very short amount of time and every moment matters. That’s why I’m fundraising for Cancer Research UK because every little bit helps towards research saving a life. At first, I was inspired to take part after seeing uncle Dom’s strength to fight but now it’s in memory of him. Donations can be made by visiting theGiving Page.

Thank you for all the kind donations so far.

Irish flag

The Bravest Irishman I’ll Ever Know

Sitting here with my headphones on trying to figure out a way to put all of the words together. Facing the fact that as you get older, you lose more people in your life, can be difficult. Not just friends who drift away but family members who you were close to. I don’t believe that there’s ever a right time or that we can make ourselves ready, even if we know it’s coming.

When I take part in Race for Life next month it’s going to be a very emotional day. This isn’t only because of the huge crowds supporting Cancer Research UK. The run in Manchester takes place on the same day as my auntie and uncle’s ruby wedding anniversary. I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to help others who aren’t aware of neuroendocrine tumours.

My uncle might have been stubborn at times but his heart was always in the right place. Throughout all of my life, he was always there and he always cared. He welcomed anyone and everyone into his life. And we all know when getting a taxi home from his and auntie Linda’s, uncle Dom would always go out to the taxi driver to make sure you got you home safe.

Growing up as a child, uncle Dom always made me tea and toast for breakfast. And I mean, he would pile loads on a plate to make sure you were full. Whenever I was sent home with a bad migraine from work he was there to let me into his house to either give me a blanket to lie on the couch with or send me up to bed with a glass of water. When we were little and I stayed over with my friends, he used to come into the room at night with a torch on his face and pretend to be a ghost.

I remember sitting there with you in the living room watching Fifteen to One after school. Every time I see a cowboy or Christmas film I’ll think of you.

There’s no one quite like you. Your love for Man United, Rex and Tyson, Poker on your laptop, Irish music, a can of beer, and love for your family was like no other.

Uncle Dom you’re no longer in pain. The world is going to be such a different place without the crazy ‘Irish Salfordian’ in town. Here’s to you and all of the good times you brought into our lives. Miss and love you always.


If Cancer Research UK is close to your heart please support me as I run in memory of uncle Dom and to help others facing cancer. Donations can be made via our Cancer Research UK Giving Page. 

ribbon rolled out

Neuroendocrine Tumours and Race for Life with Cancer Research UK

Sadly, news has hit that my uncle has neuroendocrine tumours. Although it’s a short time to train, the news gives me more than enough motivation to start fundraising for Cancer Research UK. Anyone who knows me, understands how much raising money for charity means to me, especially when it comes to family. It’s been a couple of years since my last charity run but me and Danny will be taking part in Race for Life next month in Manchester.

Did you know that neuroendocrine tumours are rare?

According to Cancer Research UK, over 4,000 people in the UK each year are diagnosed with Neuroendocrine cancer also known as ‘Neuroendocrine tumours’ (NETs). Neuroendocrine cells are in the majority of organs in our body including the stomach, lungs and pancreas.

I want more people to know about this type cancer because of how rare it is. My uncle knew something wasn’t right when he was struggling to empty his bowels for weeks. Other symptoms have included, loss of appetite, sickness, weight loss and change of skin colour (grey).

His GP diagnosed uncle Dom with diverticulosis due to age. It wasn’t until he went into hospital that there was something more. It took a little while but the doctors and consultants carried out several tests including a biopsy, bloods and PET scan.

Motivation to take part in Race for Life

I want to raise as much as possible to help promote more awareness and more research towards fighting cancer. It’s something we hear about so often these days but there’s still no easy way of breaking the news to someone.

My uncle isn’t the first person in my family to face cancer so there’s even more reason to make taking part in this year’s Race for Life. I hope that by raising awareness, I will encourage others to participate. Don’t let the word ‘race’ put you off. Honestly, you can go at whatever pace works for you. Remember the real reason why you’re taking part.

All donations can be made on Tasha and Danny’s Race for Life. Thank you so much for everyone’s donations so far. It means the world to us and my family.

I’m ready to do this. And I hope that at least one of you out there will be too.