Naturally, with the sun shining so gloriously, I was loathe to spend much time on my computer yesterday. I read ‘The Great Gatsby’ while enjoying the gorgeous weather, and apart from my left arm, I didn’t get burnt. It’s lovely again today, so I’ll be back on the sun lounger in no time, but I wanted to tell you a bit more about the Full Circle Fund, the charity Suzie has set up on the Ruth Myles Unit.
First, though, to sponsor the fantastic Old Gregorians who are cycling the Camino, go to their website and please dig deep! My dad has pointed out that by paying through the website, 5%+tax does get siphoned off to cover costs etc, so if you prefer to make sure every single penny goes to the Full Circle Fund, you might prefer to send a cheque. If so, make it payable to The Full Circle Fund ref: APNS, and send it to Will Edwards, 25 Vicar’s Close, Wells, Zomerzet, BA5 2UJ. Then again, the Justgiving website makes it very quick and easy, particularly if you are a UK taxpayer and can have Gift Aid claimed on your donation.
Anyway, the Full Circle Fund. This is the blurb from its own Justgiving site:
The Full Circle Fund exists to enhance the Quality of Life of patients living with, through and beyond cancer, leukaemia, bone marrow failure and bone marrow transplant.
The Full Circle Fund works to promote optimal psychological recovery for patients undergoing chemotherapy. We work to define and integrate services and initiatives that help to improve quality of life, well-being and coping strategies for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
It has been a pet project of Suzie’s for a long time, so it is great that it has now come to fruition. She has long believed – as do I – that it is of the utmost importance to help people cope with being ill by making their lives as pleasant and as comfortable as possible, while giving them all the help possible to cope with their illness. I’m very lucky in that I have a huge amount of support and a number of coping strategies, but not everybody is so fortunate. One small part of the Full Circle’s work, then, will be for patients to share their experiences in the hope that their journeys might help others.
I’m not sure whether I’ve ever mentioned reflexology, but once a week a reflexologist comes around and offers to do her magic on patients’ feet. There was a bit of a hoo-hah in the press recently about the place of complementary therapies in the NHS, but the way I see it is that it may not make a difference medically, but if it helps a patient who is stuck in hospital to relax, or if it somehow brightens up their day, it is worth it. The Full Circle Fund will help provide opportunities for patients to have such therapies, as well as for nurses to train in them.
Patients on the Ruth Myles Unit are often stuck in their rooms, separated from families and friends, who are sometimes kept away for a while if they have a bug and the patient is neutropaenic. The Full Circle Fund will look at ways of providing communication for such people – there is a scheme somewhere (possibly in a hospital in Ireland: I forget), for example, where I think a webcam link is set up and patients can see their homes and families from their own hospital rooms.
And these are just a few of the ways in which the Full Circle Fund might help people undergoing chemotherapy and other treatment on the haemotology and oncology wards. You might remember that early on in my treatment I decided that, in some ways, having leukaemia is irrelevant to me: if my day-to-day quality of life is high, then I am happy! I think I used the bacon sandwich example, claiming that the joy of having a bacon sandwich beats the gloom of having leukaemia hands-down. The Full Circle Fund seems to subscribe to a similar philosophy: of course the medical treatment is of vital importance, but equally important is that patients are comfortable and happy – a state that can be difficult to reach when stuck and isolated in a hospital room.
For these reasons, and because I am so inspired by Suzie’s ideas and plans, I am very passionate about the Full Circle Fund. Not just because it’s a charity that could directly help me! I really do urge you to sponsor the cyclists, who are all great guys and superstars for doing what they’re doing. Go to their website now!
Other fantastic people include Jo, Aoifeu, Sooz and their friends, who today ran the Race for Life in Richmond to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Jo had a microphone shoved in her face at the end and explained that her name was “Jo” and that she was running for “my best mate George”: hurrah! Thank you my lovelies, and well done: I’ve never been a runner so I don’t envy you…
I love you all!