Out of the Blue
In 2016, my father was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer just before he planned to retire from the work he loved. He was given a very short life expectancy but in a twist of fate, two weeks later, the diagnosis was revised to a rarer neuroendocrine cancer with a longer life expectancy; it was still stage four cancer but we were more optimistic. He lived for another four and a half years and became part of the neuroendocrine cancer community.
In April 2021, as lockdown thawed and the afternoon sun streamed into his room, he died at home with his family by his side. He was 69 years old and had spent his life working as a GP in West Oxfordshire.
Very few people have heard of neuroendocrine cancer so I primarily want raise awareness of it and ideally raise some money for further research into it. Neuroendocrine cells help regulate our bodily functions by releasing small molecules that circulate throughout the body and work as hormones or substances that have a similar effect. Neuroendocrine cancers occur when neuroendocrine cells stop working normally and start to grow uncontrollably and / or function abnormally. In England alone, incidence of neuroendocrine cancer rose by 371% between 1995-2018 while all-cancer incidence (excluding non-melanoma skin cell cancer) rose by only 116%. It is therefore essential that more time and money is spent to further understand neuroendocrine cancer. If you want to read more about living with neuroendocrine cancer the best book I have read on the topic is The Only Book I’ll Ever Write by Paul Coffey – I confess, I might be slightly biased!
Into the Blue
I have always been a terrible swimmer, so bad in fact that the last time Dad watched me swimming in the open water, I was literally saved from drowning by a canoeist at the Blenheim Triathlon. I was dragged to safety after only 100m of swimming, disqualified and felt completely humiliated. Dad never let me forget it! So swimming the English Channel as part of a four person relay team seemed like a good challenge. My team is called The Red Top Renegades and my teammates (Sarah, Anastasia, Paddy) and I will get into the cold water of the English Channel in early July. We will be observing Channel Swimming Association rules (a swim hat, googles and speedos only), we will each swim an hour before rotating and we are likely to swim at least four times (hopefully dodging jellyfish, stray seals and huge boats).
If you would consider donating, it would be incredibly kind. That said, I know people are inundated with charity requests and many other causes will be closer to your heart. So please do not feel any pressure at all to contribute.
Rumours of a video documenting our relay are unconfirmed but viewer discretion will be advised.
Thank you, Patrick
You can support the Red Top Renegades here.