I’m usually putting the call out for women who would be willing to share their story in a guest blog post for the website or asking if anyone would be willing to have an awareness table somewhere. In the past, I’ve made videos; organised online awareness events; held online auctions of my handmade items to help raise funds & awareness, done radio interviews, written blog posts & newspaper articles, and organised our Birmingham meet ups plus lots of other things to help raise awareness of womb cancer. Over the years there have been lots of women who have helped out and done similar things – all in the name of womb cancer awareness.
For a small organisation we have managed to do an awful lot of awareness raising and I say THANK YOU to each and every one of you that has helped.
Last September’s campaign in 2020 was our 10th one – a little smaller than in the past due to covid and the fact that everything was online and there were no “real world” events that could happen.
This year will also be different and this is why I am finally writing this blog post. I say finally because I have been putting it off for months but over the past week I’ve been asked twice what WCSUK is planning to do for the September awareness campaign.
As many of you may know I started WCSUK back in April 2011 and ever since then we have taken September as womb cancer awareness month, following on from our US Peach Sisters who we formed a mutual bond with in the early days. In fact, many of our original WCSUK peach sisters “met” via a US FB group and that’s where I got the idea to start one of our own.
What started out as an online support group quickly grew into a support & awareness organisation as it became apparent that many of the women had never heard of womb cancer prior to their diagnosis, just like me back in Dec 2009 so we decided to try and change things and ever since we have worked tirelessly, not just in September every year but day in & day out to raise awareness & #GiveWombCancerAVoice.
Over the intervening years my own health has deteriorated due to side effects of my own cancer diagnosis and the subsequent treatment and last October 2020 I ended up having a small heart attack and being airlifted to hospital where I spent 2 weeks and then a week after coming home I had a mini stroke.
So, that was finally my wake up call. I need to start listening to my body (and my husband)
It has been hard but I have taken the decision to step back slightly (not completely) from WCSUK. The organisation will not be folding, it will still be here to offer support to anyone who has been diagnosed with womb cancer. The private support group will still be there for those who want/need it and I will still be sending out the info packs to anyone who is newly diagnosed & requests one.
But I will no longer be spending hours online looking for info to share or working my butt off to raise awareness on social media, I can’t physically do it anymore, let alone mentally or psychologically.
This is a hard decision for me to take and as I said earlier truth be told I should have done it months ago but I didn’t know how to do it without feeling like I was letting people down.
However, now that we have Peaches Womb Cancer Trust, the first dedicated womb cancer charity in the UK I feel easier being able to step back. I know that the awareness will continue, especially as there are other groups around raising awareness now too. Back in 2011 there wasn’t as far as I was aware. There are of course gynae cancer organisations & charities but until Peaches began last September there was no dedicated womb cancer charity. The fact that they are an all female led charity headed by the wonderful Prof. Emma Crosbie makes it so much better.
So I can step back knowing that womb cancer will continue to be talked about & researched and that the awareness will continue.
I have always said that Womb Cancer Support UK was never about me – it’s about all the Peach Sisters that find us, often in their darkest hours after just being diagnosed. It’s about those who find support in our private FB group that helps them as they journey through treatment, recovery and beyond. It’s also about those Peach Sisters we have lost along the way, some of whom I have had the pleasure to meet, others I only knew online but each and everyone one of them was special and will always be remembered.
So before I start crying (again) Thank you to each and every-one who has been part of WCSUK for the past 10 ½ years. As I said, we’re not disappearing just stepping back into the shadows. We can still be reached via all our social media & our website.