One of the things I keep on thinking about is the amazing support I had since I started running marathons. I’m a positive person and that has stood me good stead during my cancer adventure. I’ve always tried to see the best in people, but believing in the best of human nature still couldn’t prepare me for the generosity and kindness that I’ve experienced in the last few months. It’s difficult to explain what this means to me, but I’ve received hundreds of messages of support on Facebook, Twitter and through my blog and received more than £8500 in donations from almost 300 people. It’s intoxicating, but in a good way.
These messages seem to come through just when I need them most. There’s a wonderful community of people out there, strangers who share their spirit and warmth with me. This encouragement makes me smile on treatment days when I’m part way through a 7-8 hour bout of toxic, nauseating drugs. Sometimes, it gives me hope when I doubt myself and my determination or fitness. People reached out to me when I was exhausted with chemo side effects before the Wakefield Marathon, when I was wondering how I could possibly run 26.2 miles the next day. Encouragement at that time gave me the strength to dig in and run a whole marathon. There are occasions when I simply can’t be bothered to train. A total stranger reaching out to me at that time gives me the kick I need to get out of bed in the morning.
And there are times when the running is the least of my concerns and training is the furthest thing from my mind. I suppose it is inevitable, but there are times when I get in a funk. I’ve lived with terminal Bowel Cancer for 17 months now. It’s been great to focus on the running recently, but there are still times when I worry about my family, especially my wife and girls. I think about their futures and the fact I won’t be around to help them or just to see them grow. When I’m struggling, people’s comments can touch my soul and ease my worries.
In the last month, inspired by my friend Tom Hacker, I’ve started a Ben’s Bowel Movements Facebook group. In the short amount of time it’s been online the group has had almost 500 likes and a stoma selfie I posted last week had more than 11,000 views, which is an incredible number for a bloke with cancer that runs a bit (and not very well).
It just seems at times like there’s no end to the kindness. Since I began my cancer adventure and especially since I started Ben’s Bowel Movements I’ve experienced a distilled version of life, including only the very best humanity has to offer. People care deeply and are capable of such amazing generosity and warmth and it’s partly because I’m ill I’ve achieved this knowledge. I might be dying, but I often feel like the luckiest man alive.
Ben’s Bowel Movements. Running 6 marathons in 6 months in support of Cancer charities:
To make a donation please visit my giving page:
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