Tassia Cartoon - limited options

As ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ comes to an end, and as we prepare for November in which awareness focuses upon Lung and Pancreatic cancers, we think about the work that we have done with #IAmThe31.

We’ve had a huge amount of engagement and interaction online, which is great, but what we really want to see, is 0ur needs (better research, better treatment options, better government policy) making a dent in people’s consciousness. Much of the month, however, has been a feast of pink, about awareness of new cancers (which is fine/important), with very little focus on secondary breast cancer (you know, the one that kills), even on 13th October, which is the one day designated for awareness for Secondary Breast Cancer.

#IAmThe31 Activities

We have been doing a number of activities around the number 31 (the number of people who die from secondary breast cancer in the UK every day) to raise awareness and funds. Bex Lewis aimed to have an average of 3.1km walked per day on her phone – actually managed 3.2km over the past month (not bad considering she’s having chemotherapy every week); Joanne Myatt was keeping track of 31 women who are living with, or have died from secondary breast cancer:

Founder Jo Taylor has been out walking 3.1miles per day since the middle of the month, and yesterday went for a walk with friends/supporters Alan and Gaynor Keyne who have been undertaking 31 activities for 31 days to help raise awareness.

We’re incredibly thankful to all those of you who have supported us, liked and shared our content, asked us questions, and contributed to our fund.

What can I do to help?

Just because October is over, it doesn’t mean that breast cancer can be forgotten. Some of us will breathe a sigh of relief that there’s less content in our timelines, others of us will be frustrated that we will be forgotten again – so we appreciate any means to keep our needs in the limelight

Back Into Lockdown?

Meantime, like everyone else, we are nervously waiting to see if we’re going back into an even stricter lockdown here in the UK. Many of us have effectively remained in shielding (barring socially distanced exercise for our mental health, and of course our multiple medical appointments) the whole time – and it is horrific watching time swiftly ticking away when you are aware that you may not have much of it left.

As reflected in Tassia’s cartoon – during the last lockdown, there was a huge amount of stress for those of us with Stage IV cancer (and some other conditions), as the pressure on ventilator space translated into request for some patients to sign DNRs (do-not-resuscitate orders). Tassia’s cartoon also illustrates a conversation had the other week about the need to be seen to be a ‘good patient’, who is thankful for whatever is provided, rather than prepared to fight for whatever treatment will keep us alive and with a good quality of life…. we may come across as angry and troublesome (and we’ll probably take that), but that’s because we are watching our friends die deaths that could be preventable with changes in policy, and increases in research … and right now we’re scared that our treatments may stop again for COVID19. Yes, we’d love to put our feet up and watch TV, but there’s changes needed, so we’ll keep shouting… and seeking to be #BusyLivingWithMets