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As you may have seen, my blogs will usually relate to business. This entry has more of a personal touch as I share my thoughts on World Cancer Day, 4 February 2016. World Cancer Day was designed to raise awareness on cancer and to encourage prevention, detection and treatment. The day was founded with the primary goal to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer by 2020.

Without going into statistics and trends, cancer is a disease that sadly has touched the lives of most people – whether it be a parent, sibling, distant cousin or close friend. The impact it has on a family or individuals is unmistakable. My personal experiences are not contained to just one event, having lost family and friends over the years, but there is one story that affects me more than others. In 1988, I lost my grandmother to cancer. At the time, we were told that she was having a routine operation for a pinched nerve. I remember the last day I saw her, and at the time I thought she was being a typical Nan, and me a typical teenager. I did my usual shout out goodbye from her bedroom door only to have her insist I come in and say goodbye properly. “Manners cost nothing Scotty’’ she would often remark in a kind but firm way. On this particular occasion her hug seemed to linger that little bit longer and tighter than normal. Only she knew that her routine procedure was not so routine, and sadly 3 days later she passed away. I still remember her for who she was and what she taught me, and that she was the one that started me on my career in healthcare having been a nurse herself.

I share this story to recognise the people left behind and to honour the bravery and courage of people diagnosed with any type of cancer. For anyone who has witnessed a loved one undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, it is often like putting your body through back to back marathons. Their strength and resilience while undergoing treatment is humbling to a healthy person.

For those who are not able to win the battle against their own body, there is occasionally, thankfully, time to treasure family and friends around them. And while they may not be present for the future, they will always leave a lasting impression on those left behind.

So take time tomorrow to contribute in whatever way you can: recognise the special and those you have never met who are on this journey and importantly remember those who have lost their battle.

Thanks for the hug Nan.

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