My Cousin Charley

a picture of charley at a wedding in a big blue fascinator and with champagne in hand. She's smiling.

A 1500m lake swim, 44km cycle, and a 9.4km run. On Sunday. Click here for the short story.

I meant to post all of this a week ago, giving me two weeks of fundraising time, but then I got knocked off my bike a bit, and hurt my wrist. The good news is that today the doctor gave me the all clear and said with a few day’s rest I should be totally fine to compete on Sunday. I’ll be doing my first olympic distance triathlon in Leeds. A swim in the lake in Roundhay Park, a cycle to Wetherby and back, and then 9 and half km around the park, running.

And although I do a lot of sport, I am actually doing this one for a person. For Charley. And I’m going to ask you for money again.

I’m sorry to ask you all just after running that marathon in June, but you can’t really control the kind of things that make you want to raise money in your life. And just around the time my friend John died, my cousin Charlotte (Charley) was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. She’s barely only a few years older than me, and badass; a lawyer from just near Doncaster, but she (and the rest of the family) were sent reeling from this news. It’s brought her and me and others of our generation – more easily pulled apart by distance and technology – closer, in a way. A sliver of silverish lining. But mostly it’s been massively too big to fit into our heads. Except for Charley. Who fundamentally, minute by minute, has to deal with being dealt the card ‘incredibly aggressive cancer, late 30s’.

Over email Charley shared a blog post with me in lieu of being able to express it herself. This stood out:

“Being a young woman diagnosed with a gynae cancer and losing your fertility as a result of it, can feel like triple whammy at times. There is something deeply personal about it – for me it stole my female organs, my fertility, my motherhood, my sexuality, my feminism, my hopes, my dreams, my confidence, my career and my future. It replaced those gifts with fear, uncertainty, and loss. If I don’t play it right, then it has the potential to steal my relationships, my job and my sanity. I think we all felt elements of this in bucket loads last week, but the important thing was that we were all trying to claw back the things we can.” (from here)

Charley has been undergoing chemo since her diagnosis, and dealing with one of the most aggressive cancers. Dealing. Like that’s a thing you can do. Anyway. I asked her if I could raise some money for her and she mentioned Ovacome – particularly for their support for younger women with the diagnosis. I wasn’t sure if I was recovered enough from an injury to do the triathlon so that’s why I’m so late in setting this up – but the doctor said if I rest up until Sunday I should be fine. So please, if you can, give money to Ovacome. And be aware of the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer (from the Ovacome site):

Bloating that is persistent and does not come and go

Difficulty eating and feeling full more quickly

Abdominal or pelvic pain that is experienced most days

These symptoms are frequently experienced by women, however when they are experienced frequently, persistantly and severely [please get checked up]

Sunday will be a bit tough. Especially with an injury. It will be nothing to Charley’s new definition of ‘tough’. She hears soon about how effective the chemo’s been. I wish I could ask for something that would make a difference to that.

Instead, if you can, donate here. Thanks.

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2 Responses to “My Cousin Charley”

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