Cancer Away

Press Release: Cancer patient Linda Longhurst introduces a new charitable foundation

CANCER... a word that strikes fear into the heart of each and every one of us. Some people can't even say it; it becomes "the C word". The plain truth is cancer will, either directly or indirectly, affect most of us at some point in our lifetime.

How it started
For me the fateful day was in March 2009. Believe me, when you sit in front of your consultant and your worst fears are confirmed everything changes. I felt a roller shutter slowly coming down on my emotions and a kind of numbness settle in. From this point on you have no time for sentiment or emotions... the battle of all battles is about to begin and you need every ounce of energy that you have to outsmart the enemy and keep one step ahead whatever it takes.

As soon as it was confirmed that I had cancer I was swiftly caught up in a medical merry-go-round of scans and tests. People asked me if I would be better off going "home" for treatment. My logic was that I was under one of, if not the best consultants in Europe and being treated in one of the best hospitals too. So why would I want to up sticks and leave the life I love, when the treatment I would receive here in Prague is second to none. An operation followed within a few weeks and after several weeks recuperation life slowly became normal again. Check-ups followed every three months and even though it was like a major weight being lifted when I was told the tests were fine. You never forget how lucky you have been and it becomes normal for life to be lived in a three-month cycle from check-up to check-up.

What happened a year on
It was during one of these routine check-ups a year later that the doctor gave an extra hesitant poke and the look on his face when he said the words "something is wrong" was enough to start the roller shutters into action again. This time I have not been so lucky, the chemo has not shrunk the tumours and it is touch-and-go whether radiotherapy is an option. I will find this out in the next few weeks. If not, I am told that my consultant is not prepared to carry out the operation I need to save my life...

Where I am now
So, stark choices needed to be made. Should I lie down and accept my fate or stand up and carry on fighting, giving it all I have until the final moment comes when I am told "there is nothing else that can be done for you Mrs. Longhurst." Feeling that I have so much more to give in life and not wanting to give up at the age of 47 I have decided that if radiotherapy is not possible here I will travel wherever it takes and see whoever I have to see to give myself that chance of life.

People here in Prague have been so generous as to start arranging a benefit evening for me to raise money towards my medical expenses. I am so lucky to be surrounded by friends like these -- not everyone is so lucky. It was then that the idea of the foundation began to form.

Objective of the foundation
The objective of the foundation will be to give other expats who find themselves in a situation similar to me, having exhausted opportunities available to them in their adopted country, the financial help to find the treatment they need elsewhere. It will be funded by sponsorships, donations and charitable events organised throughout the year.

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