The Melanoma rollercoaster is currently on a smiling high after good scan results showing further shrinkage to my brain tumour and the body scan remains clear. Over the last couple of weeks, I started to feel the numbness in the left upper side of my mouth was becoming more noticeable and my immediate concern was this must indicate that the tumour was growing. However, my doctor explained that this could be due to nerve damage or inflammation and of course your mind can plays tricks with you as we saw in the run up to the last scans. Today I am also reflecting that it is exactly one year to the day that I started my immunotherapy treatment following on from my stage 4 melanoma diagnosis, and am feeling blessed to still be here. It also represents one year with no alcohol (albeit I am tempted for a glass of bubbly today!!) plus feeling grateful for the support from my rockstar husband, family and friends and of course the amazing care from Dr. Larkin, Nikki, Lewis and the wonderful team at the best hospital – Marsden HQ.
March has been an amazing month for Team Shomelanoma and we recently reached our heady fundraising target of £20,000 for melanoma research at the Royal Marsden. Back in June during my 3 weeks staycation at Marsden HQ when we set up the fundraising I didn’t begin to think we would reach the target in 9 months. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has danced, run, walked, laughed, donated and supported, it is massively appreciated and there is much more to come.
I presented Dr. Larkin with the obligatory cheque today and he was absolutely delighted with all the fundraising efforts and asked that his thanks be extended to you all. There are several important melanoma research projects being undertaken by Dr Larkin and his team that require funding; I will be learning more about these projects and will share more about these on the next blog.
The Beast from the East may have been in town but this didn’t stop Team Shomelanoma getting wrapped up for the Marsden March on Sunday March 4. Unfortunately, although my heart wanted to be on the walk, my head told me that due to the latest fever it wasn’t a good idea. To say I was gutted was an understatement as David trotted off to meet the rest of the team. They had a fun day and well done to the Hines and Hawkins kids who all walked 14 miles with big smiles on their faces and didn’t miss their iphones once. I loved all the messages on their backs brought a wee tear to my eye. The team raised over £2,000 from the walk (these funds are in addition to the Shomelanoma funds), which will be allocated specifically to improving the care provided to patients and their families at the Royal Marsden hospitals.
From the Marsden March to the Danceathon a week later it was time to get the 80’s gear on and the pink legwarmers out. There was no way I was going to be missing this one due to pesky fevers, especially as I had a special guest Natasha Watts flying all the way from Hong Kong and 12 hours of cool tunes to dance our way through with all of the girl squad. It was such an amazing day and so much fun. It was one of those days that everything just came together and it not only fulfilled the goal of raising lots of funds, there were also smiles on the faces of all the kids (& parents!) as they were entertained by the fabulous Jonny Awsum to the dancers who bopped until they dropped for 12 hours. Who needs Ibiza when club classics were pumping their way through Kings Cross?
There are massive thank yous to the wonderful Emma Williams and her fantastic team at Green and Fortune for generously donating the danceathon venue, my gorgeous sister- in-law Katy for coming up with the idea and helping organise the event and her husband Sam who designed the website and organised music and DJs plus Jonny Awsum and Matt Edwards for all their entertainment plus all the sponsors who donated raffle prizes – Gibson Girl, The Training Works, Womens Chapter, World of Craig, By Sarah and Seedlip Drinks.
After all the fundraising excitement David and I escaped for a weekend of R and R to the beautiful Southwold on the Suffolk coast. Spring was in the air as we walked along the stunning beach, around the harbour and sat outside for a pub lunch. It didn’t last long however as the Beast from the East mark 2 blew in and on Saturday evening I was in bed with the woolly hat, red nose on alert and with eyes shut feeling as cold as I had on summit night of Kilimanjaro. Watching the Everest film was probably not the best idea to help matters but it did give me a taste for going to basecamp …
Back in London it was lovely to attend the WellChild Awards launch and catch up with all the team there. I was also able to get the pink bomb suit as David named it out of the wardrobe (it hadn’t been in there for long) for the glamorous night out.
We are now planning the next holiday to sunny Scotland and are off to the Outer Hebrides. I am so excited to visit Skye, Harris and Lewis and get the climbing boots back on. And to get training for the upcoming 100km walk. Lets hope the sun shines and the fevers stay at bay we are a long way from Marsden HQ although only a phone call away.
Coming up over the next few months for Team Shomelanoma :
My gorgeous friend Melissa Tarver is taking on one of the toughest amateur cycling challenges on April 29 – the Mallorca 312 which Cyclist magazine says “Is as tough as it gets” to raise money for the melanoma team at Marsden HQ. Full details of her challenge are here.
Team Shomelanoma (nine of us) are signed up to do the 100km walk on the Jurassic Coast on July 21 and 22. Training walks are about to begin BUT its not too late to join us
Another gorgeous friend Kirsteen Higgins is undertaking a crazy challenge and will be swimming Loch Lomond in August. Most of you will know swimming in Scotland is more associated with the Arctic than the Mediterranean so this is one mean challenge where the bikini is not required.
If you would like to organise a curry eve, bake sale, pub quiz or sign up for your own challenge to support the shomelanoma team fundraising let me know and we can help organise it.
As you all know I started my blog to raise melanoma awareness and May is Melanoma awareness month so Iook out for a BIG awareness drive coming your way soon.
Thanks again for all your support, messages and keeping me smiling and having fun, more to come soon XX.