Tag Archives: Michael Pattemore

Laughter and Tears at the 02

23 Jul

Fireworks

*Fanfare of trumpets* We did it!

Today, Michael, Clare and I conquered the 02.  Of course like most things in life it was more scary thinking about it than actually doing it, but even in overcoming our fears of inadequacy there was a challenge.   I’m a firm believer that it is good to be challenged – I’m prepared to push myself outside of my comfort zone and try something new, because I’ve learnt by skydiving and trekking in China that it leads to the best memories and insight into yourself.

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Clare, Tony and Michael

02 group pic

We started with inevitable photos – Clare had organised for Town Crier, Tony Appleton, to proclaim our challenge – he looked wonderful in his full regalia but my goodness his bell and cries are loud!  Then we had a short safety briefing – we were all a bit nervous at this stage as they talked about ropes and harnesses, wondering what on earth was ahead.

We then changed into our climb gear including our harnesses (what a look!) and it took me right back to my skydive with wonderful Nikki.

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Michael and I ready to go

Then we were taught how to use our safety harnesses and away we went.

Funnily enough the first bit is a steep ascent (where you can’t take photos because they want to sell them to you!) and looking up at it, I was transported back to China and actually that made me feel better.  Hey, if I could climb those steps on the Great Wall, I could definitely do this and I remembered that I learnt in China that looking at it was much worse than actually doing it!  In fact, whilst it is steep, it feels a bit like you are walking on a bouncy pillow which is a little weird but it was absolutely fine.

The views from the top were fantastic – it really is a wonderful panorama and thankfully the threatening storm clouds didn’t deliver any rain.o2 panorama

After a steep descent it was all over too soon, so we headed for a late lunch.

Of course much of our talk was about Lynda Bellingham, Michael’s wife, as he remembered all she went through and struggles with his grief, which is still so raw.   I am truly grateful for his support for Bowel Cancer UK – he is genuinely helpful and generous with his time and that is exactly what we need.  Now we need more people like Michael to step up and help us stop this dreadful disease.

We also talked about Clare’s Mother Ann, currently in active treatment for advanced cancer.  Clare’s love for her mother is quite wonderful and I hope my own daughter will feel like that about me too when she is grown.  I’m sure Ann must feel very proud, as she has a beautiful, funny, generous daughter in Clare and we are blessed that she has chosen to support us.  Of course both Michael and I have everything crossed for Ann’s next scan.

For many people challenges like this are a piece of cake but if they aren’t your thing then the challenge is real.  So I feel proud of us.   I have enjoyed  laughter and tears with two wonderful people, started my fundraising and maybe even helped raise some awareness.  A good day.  Now for the next challenge…..

For more information about Bowel Cancer UK, please visit our website.

To sponsor me, please visit www.justgiving.com/deborahalsina4 or TEXT STOP 68 £5/10 to 70070

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It’s all about people

23 Jul
The 02 Arena

The O2 Arena

I’ve definitely lost the plot this time.  I’m climbing up onto the roof of the 02 arena today.  I mean really – I’m 46 years old and didn’t dream of doing this kind of stuff even when I was 26.  I’m not sure what worries me most – the fact that I get horrifically dizzy looking up (weird) or the dreaded boiler suit (wish I’d started my diet earlier – I know outrageous vanity!).

But how could I not take part, when awesome charity supporter Clare Madden is taking on this challenge to raise funds and awareness because her Mum was recently diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer and our lovely patron Michael Pattemore is also prepared to take on the challenge in memory of his wife, Lynda Bellingham.  Bless them both.

It’s almost exactly six years ago that I became CEO of Bowel Cancer UK and I’m as passionate and committed now to saving lives from bowel cancer as I was then.  It’s been a tumultuous six years – full of amazing highs and some rotten lows but I feel so proud of my colleagues at Bowel Cancer UK because as a team we are doing some brilliant work and we know we are making positive change happen.  But I’m not happy yet.  I want us to do more – I want us to Stop bowel cancer for good.

I started taking on fundraising challenges of my own for two reasons:

  1. I am genuinely moved and humbled by the things people, who are often closely affected by bowel cancer, do to support Bowel Cancer UK and so I feel I must also push myself, go out of my comfort zone and in solidarity join them in raising funds so the charity can have even more impact. So over the next few months I am taking on 3 challenges, climbing the 02 Dome today, a 20k London Bridges Walk in September and another trek from the 26th September – apparently tougher than the Great Wall challenge – this time in Brazil.
  1. Because I am tired of feeling impotent and unable to do enough to stop people dying of this treatable disease. After all since I joined Bowel Cancer UK, seven years ago, around 112,000 people have died because of bowel cancer.  It’s so large a number it’s not quite imaginable but we must…

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…Because it is all about people including all these dear friends who we have so tragically lost.

Whilst we know that bowel cancer can be cured and early diagnosis is the key, what it more difficult is detecting people early.  Symptoms can be vague, the current screening test too blunt (which is why we must move to Faecal Immunochemical Testing in all 4 UK nations ASAP) and patient and clinical delays lead to poorer outcomes.

We also don’t know enough about who is most at risk – we know about some broad groups – people with known genetic conditions such as HNPCC or Lynch Syndrome or Familial adenomatous polyposis, people with a strong family history or who have had an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for over ten years but we don’t know exactly who amongst those groups will develop bowel cancer.

Many people at high risk present young hence why we’ve been talking about them a lot as part of our Never Too Young campaign but it cross cuts age.  If we could get better at identifying people with increased familial risk for example or who with an IBD might develop bowel cancer then we could ensure they are effectively screened so it is prevented or diagnosed early.  It’s research linked to solving big issues like these, that I am fundraising for.  We hope to launch our first grants round in 2016 themed around issues related to Never Too Young. solidarity

However, we need to raise funds to make this happen, so I’m fundraising again.  It would be simply awesome if you could sponsor me or take on a challenge yourself, or hold a coffee morning or just ask your friends to donate.  If we join together and take action, I genuinely believe, in time, we will Stop Bowel Cancer.

And for that hope, today, I will happily don the dreaded boiler suit and harnesses and conquer that dome!

To donate please go to: www.justgiving.com/deborahalsina4 or Text STOP68 £5 / £10 to 70070

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