Help Lick This Disease

February 26, 2009

Raising awareness of oesophageal cancer and finding better treatments for the disease are the aims of Lollipop Day which takes place this weekend. Oesophageal cancer is one of the most lethal cancers and it is growing in incidence, particularly in Ireland. My own brother Jack, died aged 48, from this awful disease so I am acutely aware of the importance of highlighting awareness.

The Oesophageal Cancer Fund (OCF) are the organisers of Lollipop Day. They have chosen the lollipop as a campaign symbol as they hope it will make people conscious of swallowing, as difficulty swallowing is one of the common symptoms of this disease. Of all the cancers that can afflict us, cancer of the oesophagus (or gullet) is one of the most lethal. This is because of it’s insidious onset and rapid spread.The proceeds from Lollipop Day will enable research to make a difference in fighting this disease.


You can help in several ways:


The more people selling lollipops on Friday 27th & Saturday 28th February 2009, the more awareness and money will be raised.The OCF relies entirely on volunteers so all efforts are appreciated. If you are willing to help, please  telephone or email:

Tel: (01) 2897457


All donations, large and small, are gratefully received. Every penny will go directly to the charity. The OCF is a fully compliant registered charity.

Please make out your payment to ‘Oesophageal Cancer Fund’ and send it to:

Lollipop Day
2 Granville Road
Co. Dublin


Text LOLLIPOP to 57112
SMS cost €1.50

All proceeds from this mobile service go to the Lollipop Day Fund.

Help lick this disease by supporting Lollipop Day this weekend.  Remember, a little lolly goes a long way!

Sink or Swim

February 8, 2009

If life seems jolly rotten

There’s something you’ve forgotten

And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.

When you’re feeling in the dumps

Don’t be silly chumps

Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing.

And… always look on the bright side of life…

Always look on the light side of life…

(from Monty Python’s Life of Brian)

I’m reading Sheila Hancock’s latest book Just Me at the moment and I’m lovin’ it.  Sheila has suffered many knock-downs in life including a personal battle with breast cancer and has lost not one, but two husbands to oesophageal cancer. Having written The Two of Us, a best selling memoir of life with her late husband John Thaw, Sheila found herself in despair with the aching void in her life. Desperate not to stagnate, she picked herself up and started to live life adventurously. Now at 75, Sheila has learnt to enjoy life on her own once more.  She has rebuilt her life and is relishing every minute of it…

“The stark truth is that, within sight of the finishing post, I am actually enjoying the race more than I have ever done.  Because time is short, I have never been so desperate to relish every minute.  I do not intend to waste any time being old and grey, and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire.  In recent years, my husband and many dear friends, some younger than I, have had life wrested from them.  In deference to them, I will value mine.”

Just Me is a deeply honest and wonderfully down-to-earth account of coming to terms with widowhood, and moving on. Sheila is an incredibly gutsy lady who has much to teach those of us who live life in smug contentment. As Sheila would say, the choice is yours,  get on with life!

Abridged extract from JUST ME by Sheila Hancock, published by Bloomsbury.

In Remembrance

September 30, 2008

Laura has requested that we keep these ribbons circulating in memory of those dear to us who have lost their lives to cancer.

I’d like to dedicate these ribbons to…

my brother, Jack who died from oesophageal cancer in September 2002, aged just 48

and my aunt, Beth who died from pancreatic cancer in October 2003 and who packed so much into her 76 racy years of life.

I miss them both more than words can say.

Thanks Laura for alerting me to this selection of ribbons.  I wear them with pride on this blog.

Cancer is…

August 5, 2008

I wrote a post the other day to highlight a book which aims to help people let go of their fears following a diagnosis of cancer. The comments I received in response were notable for their honesty and also for the understanding shown about serious illness. I believe that cancer has been a taboo subject for far too long and that people would really like to talk about it more. Here is a link to a very powerful statement on living with leukaemia, which started me thinking.

Practically everyone knows somebody affected by cancer so I thought it might be an idea to ask the readers of this blog to stop and think about cancer for a moment. What does the word ‘cancer’ mean to you? Are you a survivor? Does the very word fill you with dread? Did cancer change your life? Please feel free to voice your thoughts here in as many or as few words as you like. You are welcome to remain anonymous, it’s your choice. I’ll start the ball rolling with the first comment below.

UPDATE: This is your space to say what you feel about cancer.  I will not comment on your contribution unless you specifically request me to do so. Thanks 😀