Danielle tells us how pancreatic cancer has affected her family and how this led to her taking on Challenge 24 in memory of her mum.
I’m taking on Challenge 24 at home this June in honour of my beautiful mum, Elise who we lost to pancreatic cancer in February last year. Sadly, this was not my first experience of pancreatic cancer as just 3 years earlier I watched my best friend of 35 years go through the same thing with her mum, Joyce.
Having learned so much more about this disease, I feel so incredibly grateful for the 2 years we had with mum and now realise how hard she must have fought without ever complaining to get through over 35 rounds of different chemo to spend those last 2 years making wonderful memories with her family.
Mum's mantra was "Live your lives to the full. Be safe but be free." and in these difficult times her words have never felt so poignant. She always supported me through everything I've ever thrown myself into and encouraged me to focus on the positives, make the best of everything and be happy with who I am.
So, my Challenge 24 is all about completing 24 days of '24' related challenges as set by friends and family who know just how to push me out of my comfort zone. There are also a few in there which mum would wholeheartedly approve of as part of my personal development which she was always going on about and I hope would make her proud! It’s a journey about self discovery, raising funds and putting it all ‘out there’ and hopefully raising awareness that might one day save a life.
I’m more than halfway through and it’s been far more challenging than I’d initially thought, both physically and mentally. But the support from friends, family and the netball community has blown me away as well as the £5,001 raised to date. The challenges have certainly pushed me in all areas whether it’s been spending 5 hours walking up and down a ridiculously steep hill or leaving all inhibitions at the door dancing alongside a van in an attempt to recreate ‘Cousin Skeether’. I was devastated to fail my 24 hour silence by 3.5 hours as I have always had a huge fear of failure. But it’s all part of the journey and another thing my mum always tried to make me understand and accept. I found this quote and I’m trying to stick to it during these challenges:
“I’ve probably earned the right to mess up a few times. I don’t want the fear of failure to stop me doing what I really care about….”
And what I really care about is taking down this horrible disease and doing just a tiny part to help anyone else who has to deal with it.
So, here is me and my beautiful mum back where it started and of course my very best friend in the world who has been my rock even through her own struggle with the impact of pancreatic cancer on her family.
I know that my mum is somewhere out there looking down at her ridiculous daughter wondering how on earth I got myself into this!