Sue Carroll, the Daily Mirror’s “queen of colmnists”, died on Christmas night. Eighteen months ago she was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas. In a recent video clip explaining her absence from the popular weekly column she had written for 13 years, she said; “I’m not hanging out the bunting. This bugger is far from beaten, but at least it’s behaving itself”. She had endured an operation to remove two tumours which failed, and later had chemotherapy. She then returned to ITV as a pundit on the Alan Titchmarsh show, but her brave fight was in vain. Christmas 2011 was to be her last.
And so it proved to be for many others at the end of a year in which the scourge continued to amass its victims. And yet, as this blog reported recently, an amazing breakthrough has occurred in the United States where a vaccine seemingly capable of shrinking any tumour by at least 80 per cent has been discovered. Sadly it will take at least two years to complete trials. The reason for so much delay is lack of funding and resources. Doubtless various other potential breakthroughs are similarly stalled in laboratories across the globe.
I recently lost a close friend to cancer and, as is always the case, I seethed with anger. Anger at the complacency of so many people who could do so much to help the fight. One in three of us will encounter cancer in our lifetimes yet only one in hundreds of thousands is prepared to lift a finger. On behalf of the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, which is at the forefront of raising funds to beat cancer once and for all, I recently took part in a Saturday roadshow aimed at persuading people to donate one pound or to help with voluntary collections. No government funding is available for cancer research or high-tech equipment and without donations the latest developments cannot be introduced. The reasoning was that if everyone in the large area served by Rosemere gave just one pound miracles could be achieved.
The roadshows were staged in Blackburn, Preston and Lytham town centres on a busy ’Christmas shopping’ morning. Despite extensive advertising the number of people that turned up was nil, nil and four respectively. We spoke to passers by who replied that they were much too busy.
Saddened by the death of Sue Carroll I scanned this morning’s papers to see just how much mention is made of the greatest threat to every family in the land. Zero. The impression one gained was that vast numbers were fighting – in some cases literally – at sales. Leading politicians, such as ministers Jim Plaice and Richard Benyon, were ranting on about the need to bring back the hunting of animals for the entertainment of posh blokes in red jackets. In fact every story seems to demonstrate a preoccupation with trivia, a pretence that there is nothing better with which to occupy oneself.
Of course it is unrealistic to expect constant coverage of the need to fight cancer. But when yet another young victim falls, my red mist persuades me that we are an uncaring and selfish society. It would be nice to claim that Sue Carroll and all those like her did not die in vain, that we have at last heeded the call to treat cancer as an enemy to be fought and conquered. But it won’t happen and 2012 will bring another list of millions who died for want of a concerted attack.
If you go to the Rosemere website you will see examples of just what has been achieved by the few, and you will quickly realise how much more could be done by the many!
SPECIAL NOTE FOR READERS;
Later today I shall be off to the Land of my Fathers, Robert Croft country. One thing you can rely on in Snowdonia is unpredictable weather and should my blog be late tomorrow I am sure you will forgive me. Whether Albert and my other fellow chicken-keepers will be as understanding is another matter but, should they have to care for my chooks I shall plead guilty but insane. And I did their chicken-chores on Christmas Day!