I am so looking forward to the challenge of the Alps trek in September. Despite being warned about the need to get trek-fit because “you don’t want to find yourself lagging behind….or be bent over gasping for breath” instead of admiring the fabulous views. A bit daunting, but hopefully there is still enough time to prepare.
It will certainly be a challenge that takes me out of my comfort zone. But our patients at The Christie face much greater challenges day in day out. You only need to speak to any one of our patients to feel humbled, and realise that a few days of aches and pains are nothing by comparison.
My limited experience of skiing in the Alps has taught me two things. One, that skiing is a scary sort of activity (best avoided in my case), but two, that there is little to beat the beauty and wonder of the mountains, and the exhilaration of seeing all that scenery for real. So if not skiing, then hiking is the thing.
So I’m expecting it to be a great experience, and with great company too. But also, I’m excited we are doing it for The Christie and for the benefit of all our patients, present and future.
I’ve been Chair of The Christie for five years now, and am so admiring of all the wonderful people who work there and who, through their dedication, skill and kindness, make it the world class cancer centre that it is. The treatment and research is second to none, and the fact that it is available for all, through the NHS, makes it a place to be truly proud of.
Like most people, I have lost dear family members and close friends to cancer. So it is good to be part of the leadership of a fantastic organisation that is constantly striving to find new treatments and cures, as well as provide the very best care for our patients every day. Being chairman, though, doesn’t feel enough. Our staff work so hard, and our fabulous volunteers and fundraisers make Herculean efforts to ensure that we get as much money for the Christie charity as possible. Standing on the sidelines and applauding is good, but I need to join in!
The NHS will probably never have the amount of money we want and need, but hospital charities like The Christie can go a long way towards plugging the gap. That is why I feel strongly about supporting our charity in every way I can.
Every penny raised for The Christie helps: whether it is providing patients with services and comforts over and above those that the NHS can offer; whether it is through being able to purchase the very latest technology and equipment to give patients the best chance of successful recovery; or whether it is in supporting our research so that we can play a leading role in the national and international effort to find new cures, and end more of the misery inflicted by cancer.
So – as I try to work out just how I am going to manage nine hours of hilly walking a week, between now and the end of August – all that will be my motivation. As well as, of course, not bending over and gasping for breath instead of admiring the view.