I Race for Life For…

Yep it’s that time of year again where I come cap in hand to family and friends and run/walk a 5K course in my beloved neighbouring city, Swansea, with the hope that the few pounds I raise will be the vital few extra that find a cure for cancer.

This year is my fifth Race for Life and while I tend to grin like a cheshire cat when on the course, I also take the time before the race to reflect on those who I Race for Life for and in memory of. The sad fact is I race in memory for more than I do for those still with us, but I suppose that’s part and parcel of getting older.

This year the pink back patch (I’ll add a picture here later) has a list too long for my liking. I’d like to reflect here on a few of the names – not all or I’ll start crying – but a few that are important to me. There are two on the list who I never met but the had a great influence on my life. Ronnie James Dio being the one who had an impact on my music and who we lost a year ago on Monday. Needless to say Rainbow and Dio make up a lot of the playlist I’ll be running to tonight. His voice is possibly the greatest metal voice the world has and will ever know (no offence Bruce). For such a small man, his voice was enormous and his vocal has been a huge influence on my own style. Thank you Ronnie.

And Gwen, who had a profund impact on me through her work, and through that work I met some of the most amazing people and have made some lifelong friends. Thank you Gwen.

Rhian, I knew this woman as a teenager. We attended Air Cadets together and we formed a close friendship that like so many we didn’t continue through to adulthood and that makes me sad. However, she was a a genuinly lovely person and we shared a love of musical theatre and dance. Alas ovarian cancer took her at the very young age of 31. She was too young.

Jane. Jane passed in August 2010. And for the short period that I knew her she was a warm and wonderful person with a free spirit and a heart as big as an ocean. She was a big fan of the band (slightly biased too being Giles’ mum) but her support was immense. I am sad that I didn’t get to have more time with her but I am so grateful that I did know her.

Uncle Alan. We didn’t know until after the investigation into his passing what had caused it. He passed in December 2010. As a child my sister and I were close to Auntie ‘Lizbeth’ and Uncle Al. They lived not far from us and we would often go to their house for tea and cake and just to escape Mum and Dad if we’d got in trouble for anything (the benefit of a LARGE family when you argue with your parents is that you have lots of places you can escape to in safety). He and my Grandfather were close friends – well they had married sisters so it was inevitable. His ashes were scattered with my Grampa’s.

Grampa. Seven years and I still miss him every day. I idolised my Grandfather, he taught me to play piano, always new what buttons to press to wind me up to the point that I would have to prove him wrong (I know now that he wound me up because he knew I could do whatever I put my mind to but sometimes I lacked motivation. He was a skilled carpenter. I hope he and Alan are up to mischeif where ever they are.

I missed two names off the list this year – Dad Phillips (my Great Grandfather) and Gareth Jones (my former boss when I worked at UWIC). They are also in my thoughts.

Something I mused on the other day was how grief affects us in different ways. By no means what I’m about write is meant to belittle the person who is going through the horror of suffereing cancer but I can only write from my perspective as someone who’s been on the support side of the fence.  More often than not grief is usually those left behind being damned angry at the person who has passed for leaving them, and then that anger disapates to sadness tinged with anger. Grief is also a very selfish emotion. But it’s also made more prominent by feelings of hope. And that’s why cancer is such a horrible disease. Treatments can force the cancer to go into remission and give those of us who care for that person hope that that they will live a long and full life. But sometimes that hope is short lived and that’s the crushing reality of cancer for those of us left behind. We, the support network and onlookers, are (just as the patient is) fed hope for a year or two that the treatment will work and that the person we love, who is going through the horror of cancer, will come out the otherside. That’s why the grief of losing a loved one through cancer is so hard to come to terms with and why the anger stays for a long time, because we dared to hope. And damn it I’m going to keep on hoping.

I also Race for Life for two people who are still with us. Uncle Robin, who has been in the clear for ten years. And Sue, a work colleague who I admire and respect greatly, who was also in remission but alas we’ve had the very sad news that it’s returned with vengeance. Sue will be in my thoughts very much as I do the course.

So, with my quads screaming at me due to cramp, even if I have to hobble around the course tonight I’ll still be doing it.  It’s too damned important to me for me to say I’m not!

I Race for Life…. I race for us.

Please sponsor me if you can – http://raceforlifesponosorme.org/KrissieKirby2011

Thank you