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In July 2012, at the age of 38, I was given the devastating news that I had advanced ovarian cancer. This is my blog and the story of my fight to regain my health. I hope to share with you things that I've found helpful along my journey and keep you posted on my progress.

Friday, 9 October 2015

No More Pain and Suffering

This is John, Beata's husband.

I am so very sad to share with you the news that my beloved wife Beata passed away yesterday, bringing to a close her 3 year battle with cancer. She showed the most amazing strength and courage during her fight with her illness and touched so many people's hearts with her grace, beauty and beautiful spirit. It has been so heartbreaking to witness her suffer and to lose the person who has brought so much happiness and light into my life over the last 4 years, but I am relieved that she is now at peace and is no longer living with the burdens of fear and pain. I will be eternally grateful that she came into my life and that she gave me one of the most precious things she had – her time. I could not have asked for a more loving and special person to share my life with – we made a great team, had an amazing journey together and I will miss her so very much.

If you are reading cancer blogs like this one looking for hope, as Beata and I did many times, please do not dispair that this story has a sad ending - what may not have worked for Beata may still work for you and new treatments are always in the pipeline.  If someone reaches out to you and offers you hope, don't be put off by the doom mongers who dismiss this as false hope - there is no such thing as false hope, only false abandonment of hope.  Let nobody put a timeframe on your life or tell you that death from your disease is inevitable. Keep up the fight and relish the gift of life.

Beata Piears : 3 May 1974 – 8 October 2015

Dying for a Cure

Over the last 3 years Beata and I learnt a great deal about cancer and some of the problems with the way Society is trying to tackle it.  One person dies of cancer somewhere in the world every 8 seconds, yet drug companies make over $100bn a year from selling cancer drugs and have the highest profit margins of any major industry in the world.  This scale of profiteering from human suffering is morally incomprehensible. Cancer has become one of the most lucrative business opportunities on the planet, so faced with conflicts of interest like this there is little incentive for drug companies to hurry up with developing cures.  As one researcher put it, "we may be winning the war on cancer but we're not winning it fast".

I wanted to do my bit to help raise awareness of these issues so have published an article on Huffington Post that is also partly a tribute to Beata:

Kilomanjaro for Cancer

Since Beata passed away in October I’ve been thinking about something fitting that I could do in her memory that would also allow me to give something back to the charities that helped her.  I wanted to do something significant that reflected the scale of the challenge she faced and also the courage and determination that she showed during her fight.  So, I am planning to try to climb the world’s tallest freestanding mountain – Mount Kilomanjaro!

A good friend of mine has agreed to join me in this quest and next September we will both be setting off for a 10 day expedition to the summit of Kilomanjaro, 6km above sea level, where the air has less than half the amount of oxygen we’re used to and where temperatures can be as low as -25°C.  We’ll be hiking through four climatic zones to get there, starting off in temperatures about 30°C.  Each day of the ascent we’ll be drinking around 5 litres of water a day to keep hydrated and burning around 5000 Calories a day of food and fat!

Between now and September we’ll be doing a lot of training to get fit and also trying to raise money for the two charities that helped Beata the most - Yes to Life and the Princess Alice Hospice.  We’re both paying for our own costs, so all the money we raise will go to the charities.

If you’d like to sponsor me you can do this through my fundraising page on Virgin Money Giving:

Thank you all for your support. 

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