A message from host, Julian:
In June 2010, our world was shattered when my wife, Cat, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Just as thousands of other families had thought before us, our first reaction was “This can’t be happening to us...this sort of thing happens to other people”, but once the news had sunk in, we focused on the path ahead.
Months of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and operations followed. Side effects were as debilitating and difficult as the treatment itself but Cat took it all in her stride.
Cat returned to help run our business in early 2011 and life settled back down.
In March 2014, she went for a check on her back which was playing her up. Anticipating a slipped disc diagnosis, she went alone. Sadly, the reality was far more serious - the enemy was back, this time in her bones. A million tears later, we faced the new situation head on and after more radiotherapy and treatment, things were brought under control. Sadly this was only a temporary situation as it came back with a vengeance in May 2016, when her oncologist seemed to be settling for and planning a regime to manage the illness and keep Cat as comfortable as possible.
We wanted a second opinion (and a more proactive approach) and, via friends, managed to secure an audience with Professor Justin Stebbing in Harley Street, whose track record and results seemed extraordinary.
We met with him, were instantly hugely impressed with his dynamism and positivity and following a series of in-depth scans and tests, he told us “We are in a bit of trouble here” - not what we wanted to hear.
He asked Cat about her attitude to potential side effects of more chemo - as ever she was stoical and adopted a “bring it on” attitude. Thus began a brutal new treatment regime which saw hair loss, nausea, extreme fatigue and sundry other problems.
We scheduled a follow up with Professor Stebbing in August at which time he advised that the treatment was working and that her cancer had reduced by 60-70%. Further indescribably wonderful news was then received at the end of October, when he told her that, against all odds, she was in remission. As many tears as had been shed in 2014 were shed again, but this time they were tears of joy.
Professor Stebbing is involved in a small but brilliant charity called Action Against Cancer. Minimal overheads and staff mean a massive percentage of money raised on their behalf goes direct to provide researchers and scientists with the funding to seek new cures and treatments.
If you’ve read this and feel inspired to help us, please get in touch.