I want to celebrate some major milestones and pay homage to the single-most important word in our human language… love!
This Friday 2 March, marks the 50th golden wedding anniversary for my mum, Margaret and my dad, Douglas. Sadly, dad passed away over five years ago from the cruel Motor Neurone Disease but his love still pervades across our family and we feel his warm presence.
My parents all those years ago when having children, would have likely had dreams and aspirations for all their boys (elder brother Chris, my twin Jez and myself). Due to my chronic illness Cystic Fibrosis*, with a projected life expectancy of just 17 at birth, I wonder if their hopes for me realistically wouldn’t have been much more than plain survival.
Their love and support has always been readily available, all-encompassing and unconditional. Mum with her medical nous and determination and my dad for guiding me into playing sport are certainly the key reasons I’m still alive to write this blog post.
The road less travelled
These last few months have seen many challenges, proving to me that this is a weird, fun, interesting, unfathomable and brutal life we lead. As well as the prolonged harsh winter, I needed to succumb to a course of hateful IV treatment during January.
The IVs were split between Southampton with my mum and in London with Katie and Felix. I also was visited by both my brothers during this time. I even went to watch the film ‘Darkest Hour’ with Chris at the Southampton Odeon while wired up to my IV meds. My family’s combined love and that of my loyal friends enabled me to endure another dip into the river of IV hell.
Just before Christmas, I had to bear the tragic death of my good CF friend Helen Toghill, who died aged just 41, leaving behind her lovely 10 year old daughter. Words cannot do justice to how her loss is a shocking reminder of how brutally CF can envelop a sufferer and what it leaves behind. (For those eagle-eyed readers, I dedicated my last blog ‘One more try’ to Helen, before she became so fatally ill).
These last few months have also been underpinned by a search for a new job, always filled with stress, and a recent contract offer.
One special highlight this year was the invite to Guernsey in mid-January to host the Islands’ sports awards, deliver a speech at an education conference and taking part in a revealing interview on Modern Mindset Radio with Adam Cox (see links below).
What dreams become
Another significant milestone which is fast approaching is my (and Jez’s) 47th birthday on Saturday 17 March, where we again try and fail to out-drink the Irish. That date dramatically signifies that I have lived and endured 30 years of life past my projected life expectancy of 17. For further context, reaching 30 used to be the Holy Grail for CF survival back in the 90’s and I’ve lost many of my good CF friends along the way.
Whatever hopes and dreams my parents had for me, their main one about survival came true. I am both delighted and surprised that I’m still alive and kicking 30 years past my original sell-by-date!
Hope springs eternal
‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away!’ Maya Angelou
I salute all my family and friends who have blessed me with their love and support during my life. I especially want to thank my mum and dad who gave me the gift of their true love which in-turn bequeathed me with all the hope and grit needed to continually defy the odds.
I’ll love you always…
I will keep you posted on my life-affirming moments, trials and tribulations as and when they happen. Please keep reading and sharing my blog and sign-up (on the right hand side tab) if you have not already done so.
Yours cup half full.
* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 10,500 people. The condition affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. Each week, five babies are born with the condition, however, each week, three young lives are also lost to it. There is currently no cure for CF. However, existing gene therapy trials in the UK are bringing people with the illness closer to a form of cure but CF is not that well known and would benefit from more public donations. For more information and to find out more view the CF Trust Website.