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.

The motivation I need 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.

raspberries and 3 pieces of chocolate

3 Reasons Why I’m Taking Part in Dechox

That’s right, Dechox, a detox from chocolate. The British Heart Foundation are running this campaign with the aim to get people to give up chocolate for the whole of March. To all of you 20,000 dechoxers, think about all the chocolate you can indulge in once it hits Easter Sunday on 1st April.

I have a history of supporting the British Heart Foundation. There are people who face heart conditions and circulatory disease every day. Taking part in Dechox is just a small thing you can do, right? Below are my reasons for taking part.

The research has proven to help those with heart conditions

The British Heart Foundation list over 20 heart conditions on their website. Their Heart Helpline helps to offer advice and information on a healthy heart. If you’re worried about your heart, you can ring the helpline on 0300 330 3311. Their expansive research into diagnosis and treatment has been recognised across the UK. Having lost someone to coronary heart disease, it makes my heart beat faster just thinking about it.

I wish grandad’s heart bypass would’ve lasted much longer

He knew it and so did we. There’s a limit on the time you can have when you’ve had a heart bypass. That doesn’t mean to say it makes it any easier when you lose them. Some people will do their utmost to live the healthiest life possible. And others will want to make the most out of life in their own way. The British Heart Foundation’s research fights for people to have more heartbeats. I wish that grandad’s heart could’ve beat some more.

My blood pressure journey

In 2015 I had a few minor blood pressure problems which lead to a 24 hour monitor and an ECG. I’m not sure what happened in between then and now. But nearly 6 months ago, I began to have blood pressure problems again. I no longer drink caffeine hoping that would help. I came off the pill after 4 years as urgently advised by the doctor in October. Yet, still no change, none of those were a factor.

After many blood pressure readings, I was put on medication which has now been doubled, along with a number of trips to see the doctor and nurse. Today was another one of those days for yet another blood test. I’m sure it was my fourth one in the last few months. This was to check my kidneys are functioning properly. I’m sure they are working just fine but I just hope they’ll be able to pinpoint what’s going on somewhere along the line.

Perhaps it’s hereditary? My beta blockers that I’ve taken for migraines for 7 years, are known for reducing hypertension but clearly my body wants to be different! I seem to have followed dad’s migraine history (but for a much longer period in my life than he did). I have to remember how dangerous it is to stress and worry. And I remind myself of the time when dad had a mini stroke.

Are you participating?

Are you taking part in Dechox? What are your reasons? Show the British Heart that you’re supporting this campaign by using #DECHOX on Twitter.

Please sponsor me

I would be very grateful for your support. £1 can go towards the extensive research that the British Heart Foundation carry out. To do this you can visit my JustGiving page. Thank you.

My First Experience of a 10k Run in Manchester

Sunday 28 May is a day that seemed so far away since the day I registered for the Great Manchester Run.

Training for the Great Manchester Run

We began to train at the gym on the treadmill and developing other fitness. We decided that we needed to train for the Great Manchester Run outside rather just on the treadmill.

The truth is, we probably could have done more training. But the day wasn’t about being a professional runner. It wasn’t about time and being competitive. Today was about running for our charities, for our grandparents. Hitting the finish line made me teary eyed. But I did completed the run with Danny. That made it such a special accomplishment.

There was such a positive and boosting atmosphere prior and during the whole event. We watched other waves getting ready to run after they did their warm-up and couldn’t wait until it was our turn. It didn’t rain, although we kind of wish it did at one point to cool us down. Luckily, there was two opportunities for the shower mists that were there so they helped a lot.

Fight for every heartbeat

Before we began to run we did the minute’s silence for the atrocity that caused children and adults to lose their lives in Manchester on Monday evening. Once we began to run, it took a few moments to get passed the stage, where you feel like you’re too close to everyone to move properly.

We were so happy that we got to see my best friend, Faye as she was representing Diabetes UK and cheering runners from all charities on. It was lovely and so heart-warming to see all of the other charities, children wanting us to hit their hand as we ran past, and KEY 103 cheering us all on. I felt a great boost in my step when I saw the British Heart Foundation team, which is the charity I was running for in memory of my grandad – they were very supportive.

I loved how we did it together.

– Danny

There was a lot of sweat but most of all there was a lot of determination to run for Manchester and for our chose charities.

An amazing feeling

We passed through the city centre and sights such as Manchester United. There were people ready to hand us bottles of water as we reached the aqua stands. They were nice and refreshing to have.

I couldn’t have ran through a more supportive city full of togetherness. My favourite moment was approaching the finish line. We held hands to make sure we reached the end together.

Thank you to each and every one of you who supported us for the Great Manchester Run.

If you haven’t done a 10k before or a run of any kind, I recommend that you do it. Take the plunge and do it for you, your family, a friend, or for a cause which is close to your heart.

My Running Journey for the British Heart Foundation

I am going to be running for the British Heart Foundation in the Great Manchester Run in May. When it comes to fundraising, I have donated clothes, furniture, participated in fundraising walks, and written blog posts to raise awareness for different charities. Now it’s time to face a bigger challenge in order to accomplish something for a good cause.

Something different

Subsequently, I’ve been thinking over the past couple of weeks of trying something different. I had a look online and had previously contemplated the idea of taking part in a charity run. But the thing is, I’ve never done a run before and I thought I wasn’t active enough. The last time I went on a really long run was in high school when we did cross-country running.

I never particularly hated it and actually felt good after completing it. So, I would like you to follow me on my journey. I will be sharing several points throughout – including the lead-up to my fundraising target and becoming more active in training.

As I headed back to the gym in early January after several years of not going, it feels good to be back and it feels even better to know I’m doing more to keep active. It’s not like it’s a competition and I need to be a professional so I will be able to do this at my own pace and for my own cause.

The British Heart Foundation is one of several charities that are close to my heart. And it is one which I wanted to take a bigger challenge for. I’m ready to prepare and become even more motivated for this.

Supporting charities

You may ask my reason behind wishing to this so much. I am doing this in memory of my grandad. I always think of things that I can relate to or know someone who has experienced a factor which certain charities work in aid of. As many of you will know, Tommy’s and Alzheimer’s Society are two charities which I’ve worked closely with for a cause close to home.

I am already a gift aider for the British Heart Foundation and just the other day I was sat here thinking. It was then that something come to me – I pictured the scar I remember seeing from a heart all the way down to a leg. I saw this scar on my grandad. I remember being a child and asking him what it was. And he told me that, he had heart bypass surgery to keep him alive.

Whoa, I was amazed. I thought it was wonderful that such a thing could save someone’s life.

It wasn’t until around years after that when his heart stopped beating. He died peacefully in his sleep. Due to other health complications, grandad was in hospital not long before this but he was finally home and we were all so happy.

That last phone call

I remember my very last phone call with him, which was when he was home over the weekend, and I remember the very last words. He said, love you millions. I was so excited to see him over the next couple of days. He was always a person that me and my brothers looked forward to seeing. No matter what was going on in his life, he always put our happiness first.

It was a weekday morning, I was in school and so was Phil (one of my older brothers). Phil was facing his GCSEs at this point and I was in my second year. I was sat in the canteen when someone said a teacher was looking for me, I thought it was about the bullying I was experiencing. I was told to go to reception, so I did not thinking anything of it.

I saw my dad asking if someone could please get me as soon as possible. When I arrived he looked at me. I was thinking what’s dad doing here, I didn’t forget my lunch. Then the look in his eyes told me something more. My bag and coat were ready by reception for me to leave and I was asked to get into the car. Phil was sat in the back with his head in his hands.

I asked if it was mum, had something happened… dad said no. Then I said, grandad?

I just knew

That’s when I knew. Mum wasn’t there when we got home because she sorting things out. Phil went straight upstairs. I had seen as much devastation on his face and I went straight to my room. Dad gave us a big hug but both of our hearts had sunk and we felt empty inside. Shortly afterwards, I went to my room and didn’t want to come out.

I thought granny passing away when I was seven was a big enough heartbreak to ever be felt. This just brought sadness to a new level. Neither of them was alive to bring out the happiness in each other. Grandad wasn’t here to carry on living granny’s memories with us.

Grandad was my best friend. I told him things including the times I felt down at school. I told him things I was told not to, but grandad was my go to person, he made everything better, sometimes just within the power of his hugs.

Back then and to this day, I still get a spiral of memories that appear at once. I was never embarrassed of how close we were – we would go shopping together, he would take us on trips, and wanted us to experience all that life has to offer.

The little things you remember

When two of my friends used to stay over in high school, they would be sat on one side of the room and I would be sat next to grandad, falling asleep on him (I always fell asleep first) and he would tickle my arm. You’re never too old to have these moments with your grandparents, or your parents.

Grandad always made our hearts beat faster with all the joy and excitement he put into our lives. He even kept memories for us with his cam-recorder, I couldn’t be more grateful for his thoughtful ways. He was a very generous man but a man who knew that he didn’t have to do all the things he did. He simply wanted to.

Such a young age – it’s never the right time, regardless of age, is it?

Grandad did his usual thing – ate his tea, watched his favourite television programmes and then headed to bed… he fell asleep.

Mum was concerned as to why grandad wasn’t answering the phone or answering the door. She was next door early in the morning as she was a career for grandad’s neighbour. She got the spare key, went up the stairs, straight into his room, and said something along the lines of, come on Geoff, get up, you lazy lump.

That’s when mum knew

He didn’t respond. Mum pulled back the curtains to let some light in. He still didn’t move. She moved closer to him touched his hand, Geoff wake up. He was cold and still.

My mum was the perfect person to find him, even if it did bring so much heartache.

If my grandad taught me anything, is was to make the most of life. With every heartbeat he had, he gave us the biggest amount of love and care in the world. He put his heart into everything.

I simply want to show him that I will do something new and challenging for him. I would run a hundred times if it meant having him back. But at least fundraising will help towards more research at the British Heart Foundation.

I know that I will imagine seeing his face at the finishing line.

The grandad I had the chance to grow up with lost life due to coronary heart disease and my other grandads lost their lives to heart attacks, so this is for all of them.