I want to go when I am ready

I feel a need to write something that is not new, it’s been mentioned so many times yet we move no further forward. The right to die when the rest of your life is only going to ever get worse.

My mum died six years ago today. She had dementia. My wife’s mum died before that, she too had dementia. My father-in-law passed away three weeks ago. He had dementia. I would put before and after photos so you can see the dramatic change within a six month period, but you all know what happens in these situations.

The families have to watch their own parents mumbling complete incoherent sentences while they lose weight and their whole body starts to shut down. We know they are going to die, they too know they will die before they lose any sense of reason. But we all have to sit and wait for what could be one day, one week, one month or one year. We don’t know when they are going to go but the one thing we are sure of is that they will get worse as time goes on.

I mention dementia, but motor neurone disease and incurable cancer are amongst other illnesses where the future is a slow waiting game. Walking down a long dark tunnel knowing that a train will come before you reach the end. Because there is no end. This can be stopped, but it is against the law. The law states that they must suffer, and everyone who loves them will have to watch them as they come to the hospital, or nursing home every day only for  the patient to not realising who they are.

I have an illness that is going to lead me onto dementia. In my confusion of a mind I feel things happening that shouldn’t be allowed to happen. I feel as if my brain sometimes stops and everything becomes unrecognisable despite the fact I know what it all is. I get embarressed when people look at me while I am half way through a conversation and completely stop and wondering where I am and what the hell was I talking about. Only last week I was asked my address and I didn’t know. I still cant remember. One of our best friends, she’s lovely but I never know her name.

But I am not there, and probably a long way off. In ten years I could be almost like I am now. But in six months I could have full blown dementia. So what do I do. I can’t ask anybody to help me leave this world as it can be classed as murder. To make sure this doesn’t happen, and assuming I still have a slight bit of sense left, I can go off into the woods and kill myself. Now you tell me how sad that would be. But I don’t want to be an obvious burden to my family, I don’t want their last memory to be of me laying in a bed unable to talk to them, or to eat, or drink and having the life taken from me.

I asked my two children once “If I died what would be your best memory of me?” They both replied my humour. Somehow this memory becomes mixed up with the last memory they have of me.

I want to go with my family around me. They all know my thoughts on dying, I have made sure they understand that when I go, it is because the time is right. I want a whisky before I go. I want to tell my wife, and kids, and friends how very proud I was to have them as part of my life. I even want to try to make them laugh. I want to go as a husband, father, grandfather and friend to all of those who were part of my life. The way it stands now I shall do none of this. It is so wrong. The next time they vote on this bill they must allow people to die while they have a mind to make that decision. If there is ever a chance for you to support this cause please do. Who would want to go in pain?

I’m sorry if I am preaching a bit but the one thing in life we are all sure of is that one day it will be our turn, and hopefully our decision too.

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Anyone know a fun social media site?

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Doesn’t time fly? My little granddaughter Nevaeh just after she was born, and then recently. I start with these pictures because it makes me feel happy to see them. And currently, there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot in this world to actually shout about.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go on about terrorists, immigration, refugees, drugs, murder, grooming gangs, lack of respect etc etc. Everyone has had their say on all of these subjects and it would not be a good thing to add my views because, after all, they are exactly that – my views.

But I sit by my computer every day and wonder whether I should come off Facebook. I have tried before, but there are people who I like to hear from and this is a good way to do it. Often it makes me laugh. I like to laugh, one of the few things left in life which are free. But then I would read something that upsets me, something I don’t wish to see. Films put on of people in unfortunate an awful situations, pictures of children with deformities, stories of old people being frightened for no apparent reason other than the fun of it all. It upsets me. It saddens me and it disgusts me. I don’t want to see these awful inclusions.

Somebody mentioned that I cannot close my eyes to these things and need to see them to make me aware of what is happening out there. This made me think. Am I burying my head in the sand? Am I censoring what I wish to see in life? Am I cherry picking the bits of life I wish to be informed of? I think not. I do watch the news, I do read a daily paper, I make myself aware of life in general and grumble and moan about situations as others do. But don’t I need to see a young girl being beaten up by a gang of older kids to be aware that bullying does exist? Do I need to see an 83 year old woman being punched in the face by two young girls to know that respect is gradually becoming a thing of the past? I do not wish to see any individual situations that just prove what a massive decline there is within our country, our world.

Believe it or not, I try to keep certain views to myself. I have put them on Facebook before and started a difference of opinion that almost gets to the point of accusing others of being a part of, or instigating, the subjects we are discussing. Everyone seems to be getting angry about everything. We are all aware that at any time something could happen that could change our lives forever. And this could just be the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We are constantly on alert because every day we are made aware through the likes of Facebook, Twitter and other social media methods that all of this is closer than we realise. Or is it?

I fear I think too much. Is everything just hyping up a situation for whatever reason? Or is it a fact that a massive percent of the world are normal, kind and caring people who go about their business as we do. Is it that this minority who ruin our world are constantly with us because good news does not sell papers, or make great news, or is not hard hitting enough for a facebook status? If we took away the publicity that we give to the likes of ISIS would they then lose their power through failure of reaching the media with their views and demands. Are we not spreading their word? If we didn’t have mobile phones with cameras and videos ready to record anything that can be downloaded to the likes of facebook, would that prevent them being able to sensationalise themselves by removing their platform? Does progression actually encourage a worse world?

I know what I think. But in the meantime I shall continue to read my paper and watch the news. I shall continue to find a social network site that lets you contact people en masse with good and humorous news and makes you smile instead of cry. (I think I may be looking for a long time – probably without success) Perhaps I am burying my head in the sand, but the view down here is a lot better than up there!

I would welcome people’s views but fear that individual situations would be discussed thus adding to the controversial minefield of opinion that already exists. I would love to hear whether you think I am being rather pessimistic about the direction the world is travelling, or whether you share my overall views. Whatever you decide I sincerely hope you have a safe, happy and memorable day, Christmas and – in fact – life!

Who am I? Do you know me?

There is such a fine line between saying, and feeling, what is right or wrong in life. Whether to be honest or speak the truth in the hope that people will accept that you mean everything you say always with the best intentions. Or whether to drop into normality and follow the rest in the hope that you will be accepted.

I’m on Facebook, as probably are most of you are too. I still don’t know why I am on it as I get passionate about some of the subjects raised and feel the need to throw my opinion into the ring for what it is worth. I really do accept that it is exactly that, merely my opinion and I find constructive feedback healthy. But I have upset a few people, actually quite a few people. I feel this is because I have the audacity to say what many people think.

Opinionated, arrogant, above his station? Heard them all, and sometimes it gets to me. But my wife says that if I get upset by people’s reactions then don’t put myself in the firing line. But I liken that to the fact that I may see a man beating a woman. I feel I would intervene and may get a smack in the mouth for doing so. So to avoid a painful smack in the mouth, shall I turn my back and let the woman get a beating? Not me!

There are rules to life, we are like marbles in a tray. A small vibration can set us all off banging against one another, then it settles down and stops, giving us our own bit of space. But shake the tray and the marbles become displaced, shooting outside of the tray itself landing everywhere. The pattern to life has gone.

Imigration, religion, crime, politics are all subjects I, and many others, have strong opinions on. And the opinions we give take into account the feelings of others. Is someone gay? Or black? Or Asian? Or catholic? Or Muslim? Or a soldier? Or a terrorist? Or violent? Or ill, or depressed? Or any of millions of labels that belong to us all? Can one work alongside another, or are they best kept apart?

All of the above are people. They have all been born wherever they are born. They have no choice. England, Syria, America, Russia? They get their first “tag”. That is their tag for life. They are English, or Syrian, or American or Russian. If there is a world war, already at just one day old, it is decided on which side they should belong.

Will they be christened, or baptised or welcomed into any of the hundreds of faiths around the world. Before the age of one they have their second tag. They are now an American Catholic, an English Jew, a Syrian Muslim, we can mix any of countless religions and faiths and beliefs and places of birth. Already the departments are starting to exist.

Before five they belong to a wealthy family, they belong to an average family, they belong to a poor family. At the lower end of the scale they learn that it’s okay for these rich people as they don’t have to worry. The rich kids wonder why the poor kids live the way they do. We are all moved into classes. There are now so many divides. Aged five they have a definite spot in society that doesn’t match their peers.

Before their teens they discover imigrants are scroungers, blacks are aggressive, the jews all stick together, poor people are chavs, rich people are snobs, irish are thick, northern England people are common while Londoners are cockneys with exception to those buying posh homes who are “up their own arse!” Parents opinions are passed down to their children who then share it with their friends. We are now creating more divide between people who are ………people! We are all just people, we were all born without being a part of that decision. We can be held anywhere in the world as babies and most people will smile at how sweet that baby is. Whether it is black, white, Jewish, Muslim, Chinese, Catholic, whatever. It is a baby. A sweet, innocent child brought into this world, which is now not that big.

I despair at how the man next door cannot be judged on how well he performs as the man next door. How the person (underline person) cannot be judged on whether he/she smiles, which would make me feel happy. How that man or woman in hospital is saving our life, and not because their skin is a different colour, but because they want to.

Yes, I feel that we cannot take every immigrant into this country as we have to protect the future. There is a realistic side to things which need to be done. We cannot sit back and let the world happen without any sort of organisation and control. But this is a statistical problem, not a racial one.

I feel sad that wars, and discrimination, and unfounded opinions split us up, and tear us apart. Dogs have different breeds. Should a Labrador mix with a poodle? Are the expensive breeds more posh than the others? Are mongrel dogs the lowest of the low? No, they are dogs, and we judge them on what they are actually like as a dog, but in the meantime they all mix with one another unaware of what breed they are. They are all just dogs!

I want to make people see people for who they are, not what they are. This blog is pathetic. it is like a solitary star in a galaxy, not making the slightest bit of difference. You have read this and will judge me by my writings, because you can’t see me. You don’t know who I am, what I am, or where I fit in society. You are judging me merely by what you read.

If only life was the same!

Chrissy Noel of Faeries

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It’s a strange feeling. I am 63 so I decide to help organise a music festival. You know, sometimes I even surprise myself. A music festival????

A friend of mine, Fay Boissieux, works as a fund raiser for Sue Ryder. They were having a country fare on a Sunday in August, and she mentioned that most of the marquees etc were being put up on the Friday and would be sitting there on the Saturday. If only they could be utilised to raise more money. So the idea of a music festival was born. Perhaps a few people singing, a few buskers, something to eat etc.

We now have an event that starts at 3.00pm and goes onto 10.00pm. We have family entertainment all afternoon into the early evening, we have stalls, attractions for the kids including a two hour disco and lots of different food all around the site. For the serious minded music followers we have 30 musical acts performing live on four different stages. We have all range of music from rock to classical, duets, 8 piece manic bands, in fact if you like it, we have it. A bar, a prize for best act of the day, a headlining band and a DJ offers an alternative into the night.

Busk till Dusk was born, and is blooming. You may recall me running the Lolly for Polly fundraiser. Busk till Dusk had the same catchy rhyming title that, once again, seemed to have caught on. It rolls off the tongue. We were on our way and there was no turning back. Publicity and technical people jumped on board and the lead singer with one of our acts joined in to help as he had the contacts and that certain flair needed that this crocky old 63 year old didn’t possess. He looked good, I looked shit! But we did it! And not only did we do it, but we did it well.

Radio slots, newspaper articles, posters everywhere, an ever increasing facebook and Twitter site as well as our own website forcing the idea down people’s throats. Everyone heard of us. They knew they had to be there as they were frightened of missing out on something that could grow bigger by the year. Being able to say “I was there at the first one” is something that may be an ice breaker at many parties to come in the future. Next year, a two day festival with 60 acts, and double again for year three. Camping overnight, bigger and better acts, some of those moved to bigger places in that time. (We wanted to get the Shires but by the time we finished thinking about it, they became famous!!) The stars of tomorrow are those appearing this week.

So this week we promote the “bums on seats” project. Not that there are many seats, there are, however, lots of hay bales. We need to make lots of money. Fay is like a war horse. She doesn’t stop and I think she has double Duracell pushed into her back. I must try to keep up! It is now Wednesday 10.00pm. The event will finish at 10.00pm Saturday 8th August. 72 hours. And then it all happens. If it turns out as well as we think it will I shall be bitten by the music promotion bug! I shall move onto another charity.

But this project was hard, but so exciting. We wanted something to raise money for St John’s Hospice, in whose grounds the festival is taking place. We were okay making a bit of money. But now we want to make a lot of money. We want to be on the music calendar. We want to be “an event” worth attending. We want the acts to book for next year – this year.

I do feel quite chuffed. I don’t even know what I am going to do next. It’s like watching a film of someone but that someone isn’t me, though it really is! Do you think I am slightly eccentric? I think I may like being eccentric.

Anyway, you can come along. Yes you can. It is in Bedfordshire. Moggerhanger to be exact. Great name huh? All you have to do is click on https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/busk-till-dusk-music-festival-tickets-17760684686?aff=eac2

I want this to raise lots of money. I want everyone to enjoy themselves. I want all the acts to get great exposure because of our pre, during and post event publicity. Music is great. It reaches into me and sometimes takes over. it does the same for many. Busking is raw talent, nothing superficial, nothing made up, no technical knowledge to make someone sound ten times better than they are. It is stripped of all it’s falseness, what you see is what you get.

For seven hours of total live music and entertainment, the most expensive online ticket is £5.00. That’s a good price isn’t it? For those who smoke it is just ten cigarettes. For those who drink it is not even 1.5 pints. You want to be there don’t you? I know you do. Ask your friends. Quick, text them now. And then get your tickets. What a treat you are in for.

In the meantime my 63 year old body will push forward with my friend Fay, who is absolutely bonkers and a non stop ball of vitality, to try to make this a great success. A hospice does great work, we all know that. One day, it may be me or you requiring their services. Sue Ryder do this day in, day out. Year in, year out. The best we can do is to support them. This way, by buying tickets, you do. And you get a damn good day in the process.

Email me at busktilldusk@mail.com if you have problems getting your tickets. In the meantime, see you there, and next year and the year after that. God, this fun!!!!

Passion for Sale!!

I have this feeling that I can conquer the world – alone. There is nothing I can’t achieve. If something cannot be done, then give it to me and I shall achieve it. Of course, I know I can’t, but for that split initial second I feel I can. I don’t know what makes me feel this way. I have, deep inside me, this feeling called passion – big time. For everything. I write massive long statuses on Facebook (I’m well known for them!) They bore everyone to death. But once I start I can’t stop. I want somebody to write to me and say “Okay Keith, you want to run the country, let’s go for it!” But it’s not going to happen and I get quite upset when I realise that they don’t want to harness my enthusiasm for the good of everything. I don’t really do Twitter as they only give me 140 letters, and after 140 letters I have only just begun to warm up.

I know some people may think it daft that I seem to take on the plight of the underdog and try to make it better where others have failed. In my heart I want to help these people because they don’t have the fiery passion I have and they are unsure where to begin. I begin by writing, then writing more and then more. Some people have said “We saw your write up and how long it was, so didn’t bother to read it!” But if you don’t read it how are we going to save the world? I sometimes get upset when people don’t share my enthusiasm and overwhelming desire to succeed. Don’t they want the world to be better? Don’t they want the homeless to have homes? Don’t they want more money for the NHS? Am I a Lone Ranger charging around on my white steed?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not somebody who thinks they have all the answers because I don’t. I just wish I did. I am not telling everyone how good I can be. It’s not the fame I want but just to be able to springboard a positive action amongst others. Then when it rolls and works I am happy to take a backseat and watch it prosper.

I do sometimes try to stop, and be like normal people. But I really do find normality quite boring. Not only that but I would give up, then something I read, or see on the news, or hear will fire up the passion and I shall be starting all over again. By the time I depart this world I would have loved to have achieved something. Not sure what that will be, but I feel I should make sure it happens. In a way it may seem an extrovert, or even arrogant goal with which to achieve. But it is probably the reverse. I need to leave a legacy for my children. Not having a father all of my life I want to leave something they can be proud of. To say to their children “You’re granddad made this happen!”

So in the meantime, whilst I wait to alter the course of history I do my own thing to help in whatever way I can. I have a site that is open as a public forum to the town in which I live. I have a site where we are trying to raise £10,000 to help a mum have a second mastectomy after being diagnosed as having cancer whilst pregnant. We have, so far, raised about £7,000. (To donate go to http://www.lollyforpolly.com)

I am now involved in raising money for Sue Ryder to help our local hospice by organising, with a friend, a one day busking festival. (For info go to http://www.facebook.com/busktilldusk)

Yes, I have written all of this so that my little fundraising events can get a bit more publicity. If you are still reading this, and my close friends probably aren’t, (Ha Ha!) you may even consider looking at the sites, donating if you can, spreading the word and helping me to help others.

It’s not changing the world, it’s not even changing a bit of history. But look at it as practicing for the big one. Whatever that may be. This blog won’t reach millions, I really wish it would, but someone may just read it and say “Maybe he can do something!” I recall years ago, when I was looking for work, I made a flyer selling myself as a sports car (Top of the range car, 56 years on the clock, fine tune your company, take you where you want to go etc etc). I posted these round many industrial estates and local companies. I had several calls but one of them was from the managing director of a company fairly local who said to me “I don’t know whether you are stark raving bonkers or brilliant!” I said I was both and started working there two weeks later. Not sure if he ever made his mind up what I was. Not quite sure I know myself, probably the former.

So on we go. If you can’t do anything to change the world yourself you can either contact me and we can pool our great ideas, you can donate to Lolly for Polly by contacting the website and pressing the donate button, you can go to the busking site and read what it is all about and follow and share our page, or you can agree that I may have a screw loose. Or you can do the whole lot.

Have to go now. Need to go and get experience that will enhance my CV. This will hold me in good stead when I eventually see the advertisement in the situations vacant column of The Times that says “Man wanted to save the world!!”

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Hard work, but so, so worth it!!

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This has been such hard work. I didn’t realise, when I took this on, how hard it would be, but I had to do it!!

You may have already read that my dear friend Polly Simpson was diagnosed with cancer whilst pregnant with her second child. She had a mastectomy and chemotherapy all whilst still pregnant. Alfie is now a beautiful young boy. However, after applying for a second mastectomy plus reconstructive surgery Polly was turned down, despite her encologist, and the hospital supporting her. Another hospital offered her a lifeline, but they too refused her funding. So now we have Lolly for Polly, a fundraiser to allow Polly the surgery she deserves. Surgery that can possibly reduce the chance of the cancer returning, so that she can see her children growing up. Plus it can make her feel as near to the attractive, normal women she was. As a single parent, that is important to her.

We started a face book site and people reacted by donating money. I was so surprised at how many wonderful people wanted to put their hands in their pockets to support a girl they did not know. These people helped our cause, and helped us to believe that most people in the world are really kind and thoughtful. I put together a website. I had never done this before, and I kept adding bits, and changing it around until it looked liked something worth looking at. I added a page I called “Kind People” and this listed every individual, organisation, company etc who had helped us to raise money. I wanted people to know that I understand that this is not my project, but the project of all of these people. And they deserve recognition for their kindness.

We then had the idea of an event to raise money. Polly and Lynn Willison thought an Old Skool Disco playing music of the 80’s and 90’s would be a good idea. a great friend printed the tickets for free and the venue not only gave us an excellent rate but donated a meal for two for the raffle. The disco appealed, people wanted to come and applied for tickets, and even suggested dressing up for the night in the clothes of that era.

Meanwhile, others had arranged a shopping evening that raised £400, another is taking place at the end of the month, a tea room put on a psychic night, and a pub had quiz nights with the money from these events going to Lolly for Polly. People were reacting so kindly and the name Lolly For Polly was catching on. People were starting to hear about us. Local newspapers carried the story as front page news. A local TV station came to see us at Polly’s house and earlier this week we had a half hour spot on local radio. This was all a result of constant badgering of anyone that could give us publicity. Everyone was a target to help us achieve the end result.

Our next venture was a raffle. We started to appeal to companies, organisations, beauty shops, sporting clubs, family attractions, theatres, London attractions, in fact anyone and everything we could get into. We bought the licence required and ordered the raffle tickets. The prizes started to come in. Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, David Essex, FI signed caps, day out vouchers, beauty shop vouchers, signed photos, hampers, vouchers for meals etc etc. To date we have over 60 prizes and some more will arrive before the draw on 28th November 2014. All we need is someone famous to make the draw, so we can make the raffle draw an event in itself.

We had a kind person who was doing some work on a racing car contact us and offered to donate around £2000 of his earnings to the Lolly for Polly fund. It is hard to keep all this going, but every now and again the kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity make it so worthwhile. People certainly do react. It was an amazing gesture.

Every day we press on, trying to keep the name out there in whatever way we can. Making the words “Lolly for Polly” something that everyone will come to recognise, and hopefully as something completely worthwhile. We e-mail everyone and everybody for prizes, publicity, putting up posters, anything at all. I update facebook and the website daily, my friends must be fed up reading it all but there are always new people it attracts.

And then there is my blog! Yes folks, I have written this in the hope that you will read it and see exactly what we have achieved to help a brave an inspiring young mother of two. Polly is not unique, there are many other girls in a similar situation, and when Polly gets her much deserved surgery, I may yet carry on to help others, in her name. None of these girls ask to be affected by this disease, none of them wish to worry whether they have a future, and they don’t deserve to feel awful about their own bodies, feeling unattractive though they are not.

If you have got this far, thank you for reading it and thank you for your patience. I am hoping too that my blogging friends in America can take this cause internationally. Please look at our face book page http://www.facebook.com/lollyforpolly2 and also look at our website http://www.lollyforpolly.com

If you can donate, buy a raffle ticket, give ideas, send support, share this with your friends, spread the word for us so that others may help, it would be absolutely amazing. This girl, this brave girl Polly, will live to see her children have their children if we have anything to do with it. She will also feel like a proper woman again capable of feeling attractive as she once did.

It is hard work, but in a way it has enriched my life too. The world really is a nice place. Please look at our sites, please help in whatever way you can. My email address is willisonkeith@yahoo.co.uk in case you need to get in touch. Sorry to hit you with our plea, but thank you so much for reading this!

Anybody want to join me in saving the world?

I want to save the world. I want to be a pioneer of new innovative methods to prevent people getting hurt, animals getting hurt, international warfare, paedophilia, murder, theft, rape, narcotics, prostitution and anything else that one could consider not normal in a normal society.

I am ready to start. I feel powerful enough to do this. I have the one thing that is, apparently, the most important requirement, and they call it passion. I know I have it because my teeth are clamped together and I keep going “Grrrr!” In all these years. over past centuries other passionate people have tried, and unfortunately failed. Very famous people who, the mere mention of their names, conjures up feelings of greatness and power, but they didn’t do it. It is still increasing. It has to be stopped! I am that man!

So now I have come to go where no man has been before. I feel like a crusader with a cape ready to jump of a building in the middle of a crowd in London, with my hand on my hip and my cape blowing in the wind. To the astonished gasps of the ever increasing throng I tell them they must worry no more, because I have come to save them. The applause rings in my ears, which start to hurt a bit so I move off to begin saving the whole world.

I should have made a plan as there is so much going wrong. To do one thing at a time, probably beginning with the worst. But I didn’t have time. Whilst doing this people could be dying so I must act now. There is no time to waste. Do I need an outfit? I decide that is too pretentious so decide against it. Anyway, I shall need to mingle incognito so as to get to the core of the problem without giving advanced warning by wearing a blue PVC costume with yellow shorts outside of my tights. I think, perhaps, just a badge with “World Changing Vigilante” on it might let people know discreetly I am here without causing panic.

There is no time to waste, I head for London because this is where a lot of the crime happens. I read the Daily Mail. I was going to stay in Potton but realised that this would not make much difference catching an illegally parked pensioner in Tesco Car Park. Hardly going to make the front pages!

The train left Sandy and headed for Kings Cross. I didn’t sit down, I stood, because apparently that’s what tough men do in the movies. I looked at every single individual in case I may be needed early. Many of the people returned my stare, some looking at my badge and sniggering. But I knew they were smiling because they were impressed.

At Kings Cross I left the train, and also the station walking out into the dangerous streets. I could feel the filth of crime, the sound of wrongdoing, the vibration of corruptness. Prostitutes were walking either side of me, one of them was about eighty-four, two of them, my God, were even in wheelchairs. How low could they stoop? Three drug dealers were in the corner pretending to be normal people drinking a latte. But I knew different. I passed a building called Subway, and my gut feeling was that this was a cover up for a illegal gambling casino. I knew I was in the right place because close by there was a large old building called St Pancras. They couldn’t fool me. No way was this a church!! What were they hiding?

I went up to five large and heavily tattooed criminals sitting outside the local public house drinking bootleg beer. I could feel it was all going to kick off. I approached them whilst tiptoing.. I knew they were up to no good. This was where I had to start. I moved towards the biggest one from behind, flashed my “World Changing Vigilante” badge, pushed his arm up his back and began to read him his rights whilst spilling his beer onto his boots.

What I didn’t bank on was the fact that members of the public did not come to my aid as I had envisaged when I set up my plan to conquer the worlds worst problems. I used to be very good at maths and realised that five against one was bad odds. My mathematical calculations pre world changing were set at thirty-one against five assuming that thirty people would realise that I was trying to help them live in a safer world, and join me at that moment. But it was not to be. The three drug dealers even had the cheek to order and eat a chiabatta whilst someone stamped on my head.

I have abandoned my plan to save the world and can now understand why others failed before me. I bet if Nelson Mandella started a brawl in the street he wouldn’t be left to go it alone! My passion had begun to wain anyway, and instead of combatting crime and violence I decided to stay out of the way and not make eye contact with anybody.

Whilst I am recuperating I have decided to start a campaign against bad hospital food. I shall let you know how I got on as soon as I can see the keyboard through swollen eyes. And then type it once my broken fingers have healed. I am looking forward to my next venture.
(As dictated to Staff Nurse Weston at my hospital bed in intensive care near King’s Cross)

Raising money – not as easy as I thought!!

LFP

It’s really hard to try to raise money for a charity not registered amongst the group of big names. My efforts to raise money for a friend, Polly Simpson, who was diagnosed with cancer whilst pregnant with her second child is the case of which I speak. The picture above is of Polly with her son Alfie, who she was advised to terminate, but she refused.

I began by starting a Facebook page. To begin with my close friends and family liked and shared the site and donated to the charity. But once these avenues had been explored it was down to getting in front of the general public. This was going to be harder than I thought. I asked everyone to share and even donate, but many people did not even like the page. I felt let down but thinking about it, while I was blabbing on continuously about something in which I totally believed, I should not have expected everyone else to share my same enthusiasm. Not only that, but I knew they were getting fed up with hearing about it.

I had to change the way I did things. Nobody was going to now just click in and donate money because it was there. I had to try different things and decided to make it more like a newsletter, instead of a plea for money. This seemed to work because people then chose not to read the letter instead of feeling guilty at being badgered, but others read the news letter with interest. This new method worked, and the donations seem to be arriving from complete strangers, including a guy from America. I made sure I listed all of these people without listing amounts of donations. I wanted them to know that the money raised was down to their kindness and not my insistence.

Once again things started to slow down. Polly herself suggested we think of putting on an Old Skool Disco, with 80’s and 90’s music held at a venue well known for this type of event at the time. The owner of the venue let us have the place for less than half price and also donated a meal for two as part of our raffle prize on the night. Polly and Lynn Willison started putting ideas together. I began promoting the event, this was something new so people took notice. We had a close friend print the tickets, and other people started to help.

As well as a Facebook site I started to put together a website. Something I had never done before. This too, could be added as a point of reference for our fundraising, including regular updates, photo gallery, a page written by Polly, press releases, many others including a donation page.

We planned on selling the 220 available tickets for the Disco before November, but before the end of September we had sold near on 160 tickets with requests coming in all of the time. I wrote to many people and companies offered prizes for the raffle. Everyone was so kind. We had posters made, and tried to do everything as professional as we could.

With these new events and stories, it was now a lot simpler to relate to people. Instead of asking for money (and feeling it would just come rolling in) I realised that the same methods made everyone just pass it as something boring. Now it was interesting and managed, once again, to catch people’s attention. If I have learnt anything it is that there is a method to doing anything, and there doesn’t seem to be any shortcuts. I realised that with so many requests for money, your own fundraising had to touch people’s hearts, and pictures of Polly and her children, as well as her writing her own story, did exactly that.

People are very kind, but nobody has a never ending stream of money. We all have our own stories, our own hardships, our own losses. But I feel it is these people who feel they want to help others, and do so in their own way. We had a donation of £50, which was amazing. And then we had £2 off a very old man who lives in our town. Equally amazing!

By the middle of November we may be halfway to our goal of £10,000. Maybe further than halfway. But I intend to carry on and get all of the money. It is hard work, and something that can never be put down. But I love it. To see the hope in Polly’s eyes now make it all worthwhile.

I hope you all will look at our page http://www.lollyforpolly.com and see for yourself what we are trying to do and why. And perhaps, just perhaps, you may be able to donate anything at all and be one of the amazing people. Thank you for reading this. You realise this is a part of my keeping this in the public eye. But I also hope it helps others wishing to raise money for a worthwhile cause.

Please read Polly’s own story!

Hey, my name is Keith Willison. I have started fundraising for a wonderful girl called Polly Simpson who was diagnosed with breast cancer whilst pregnant with her second child. We are trying to give her private funding because, despite the fact that her oncologist and the hospital agree that she should have a second mastectomy, and reconstruction, NHS funding was refused. We shall collect enough to get this done for her. I would love everyone to share this blog. Especially my American friends, and those in other parts of the world. Our facebook site is http://www.facebook.com/lollyforpolly2 and our website is http://www.lollyforpolly.com/
Below is Lolly’s own story, as she wrote it for the website. It is quite moving. Thank you for your time
________________________________________________________________________________________________________Polly 3
LFP

Hello, My name is Polly I am 37 years old and a mother to two beautiful children.

I have always been an outgoing person and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of every day life. I am very creative and imaginative and always love coming up with new ideas and things to do and make. From the age of 7 my passion was to dance, I loved music and how I just wanted to dance all the time so I started dance classes in my local town. I went to ballet, tap, disco and rock n roll. As the years went on I realised that this was my dream and that I wanted to dance all the time so I started doing exams, shows and competitions. I loved it so much that I started to help out in the classes back then we had tape cassettes and record players. I had a wonderful teacher Joy who became a very close friend, she inspired me to dance just like the greats Gene Kelly and one of the most amazing artists Michael Jackson. His enthusiasm for music and to dance inspired me the most. I continued to Dance til late in my 20’s but then moved away to Birmingham for a short time.

Once I moved back to my home town I started up dancing again this time doing Ballroom & Latin this was so different to what I was use to but it was a challenge. I did this for a couple of years but then had my first Baby Breea. In 2012 I wanted to be creative so I started making Nappy Cakes, Baby Clothes Bouquets and found I was quite good at them I also found a love in painting Peg Dolls and still paint them now.

December of that year should have been an exciting time as I was looking forward to Christmas as Breea was two and a half and she could understand a little more of the festive season. I was also around 4 months pregnant and excited about the new arrival of a baby in May 2013. But the excitement was short lived because one night I had a bath and decided to get in my pyjamas early and have a chill out night watching telly. Something, I’m not sure what but something came in to my mind and said for me to check my breasts and I did, I lay on the bed and had a feel, I was very bad as I had hardly checked before. As I lay there my hand came across a pea sized hard lump on my left breast.

That hot feeling and the feeling of dread suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks and I just completely froze. I quickly got up and thought it must be a cyst, I phoned my mum who said don’t worry it’s a pregnancy lump so I got on with my evening although something was niggling me at the back of my mind.

The following Monday I went to the doctor, she felt it and said she wasn’t too worried but she would send me to the Breast Clinic to have it checked. Two weeks later I was sitting in the clinics waiting room late afternoon. It was getting closer to Christmas so it was cold and dark outside and everyone was in the festive spirit.

I was called in to have a Mammogram and an ultra sound and I can remember thinking that I was the only young woman in there so it felt a little strange. The consultant called me in and asked to feel the lump and said “I will be honest I am a little worried” and said he needed to take a biopsy. He did and sent it off for testing straight away.

Whilst I was waiting I looked at the clock and thought wow we’ve been here ages I should be at home reading Breea her story and putting her to bed, not here in this cynical place.

I was called back in and my biggest fear was confirmed “You have Breast Cancer and it has gone to your Lymph” I just sat there silent for a few minutes and then looked at my mum “I cant” I said “I’m only 35, I’m a mum and I’m having a baby” I was in complete shock and that’s when it hit me, I have cancer” The consultant seemed very troubled at this point “the pregnancy” he said, “you may have to consider a termination” did I just hear that right I thought? Termination?

I needed to have treatment which would mean either my breast off or a lumpectomy and definitely chemotherapy, but as I was pregnant a lumpectomy would mean radiotherapy and I would not have been able to have that whilst pregnant. The biggest worry of all was having chemo as this was poison to my body and this could harm my baby.

I had various meetings over the next few days with the Paediatric consultants who also thought my only option would be to terminate and that if I decided to go ahead with the pregnancy my survival chances could be less. I also could be made infertile from treatment so this would possibly be my last chance of having a baby.

Wow that was a lot to take in how could I make this awful decision? That was until I met my oncologist Dr Thomas, he had researched this very carefully as he knew about my situation, and it was he that I put my whole faith in to. He said that research had shown that baby’s who had been in the womb when their mothers had gone through Chemo had very minimal side effects if any and the most common side effects were smaller birth weights. Although there were always risks and it would be my decision what I chose to do.

I met with my breast consultant a few days later and told him “I want a full mastectomy and I am keeping my baby” “ok” he said “if that is what you want I will not hang about and although I’m busy doing operations that day, I will book you in on December 27th”

Wow that’s next week I thought, the day after boxing day.

Christmas was one of the most emotional times for me because I really didn’t know if I would get to see another as by this time I had read all the details about breast cancer and how it could return or spread else where, and this really did play with my mind and over the days that little dark figure would sit on my shoulder popping those very dark thoughts in to my head.

I can remember reading Breea a story and as I did the tears kept falling down on to the bed. Whilst she unwrapped her presents at Christmas I cried too because the thought of her growing up without me was unbearable. We took lots of pictures in case I was not here the following year, well me being negative made sure pictures were taken as that was how my mind was.

DECEMBER 27th Eeek it was that gloomy day I had to be there early 7am . So my partner Rich and Breea took me to the hospital and left me there for my op. I waited until 4pm until I eventually got wheeled down, I just remember seeing my mum as I was wheeled off in one direction in tears and my mum was going in to the lift the other way crying too. To say I was scared was an understatement I was so scared of not waking up and if the baby would be ok.

7pm was the time when I eventually came round and the first thing I said was “oh no I’ve missed my dinner” typical always thinking of my stomach not what I’d just had to go through. I managed to look down at the bandages to what use to be my breast to now a flat nothing.

I can’t recall crying just relieved that they had taken that thing away, that thing that had tried to kill me. All had gone well with the op and they had told me they had removed all the Lymph nodes from my armpit. Later that evening they listened for the heart beat of the baby. The ward went quiet waiting to hear it and there it was, beat beat beat. That was the moment I cried.

I recovered quite quickly from the operation, and I didn’t cry when I eventually saw my scar I just felt angry that I didn’t feel like a woman anymore, but I did feel thankful that I had got through this stage. Now it was time to prepare myself for chemo, because 2 weeks later in January 2013 I started my 7 hits of the powerful drug.

By the time I started chemo they had found out that my cancer was Triple Negative which meant it was not fed by hormones, this would mean I would have to be tested for the Brac1 & Brac2 gene. I had the test and although my Nan had breast cancer on my dads side of the family and my great aunt on my mums side. The gene came back negative so I guess I was just one of the unlucky ones for getting it. They also told me that they had removed 26 lymph nodes and only one tested positive for cancer cells.

The first Chemo session was very upsetting for me as not only was I worried about my unborn child but I was worried about losing my hair and the side effects of the drugs. I can remember walking in there and seeing lots of older patients and I just sat and burst in to tears, but I eventually got use to the idea and was hooked up to a drip and so the poison began to be put in my body.

At this time in my cancer journey I had joined a wonderful support group on face book YBCN (younger breast cancer network) set up by a lady in Manchester who had gone through the same a year or so before and found she had no one to talk to so set up the group. This group became my rock and I found comfort in it day and night, sharing experiences, helping to cheer each other up as well as crying to each other and sharing our darkest fears. It was here that I met another 5 ladies who were pregnant too so I didn’t feel completely alone. I also met ladies who lived in a town near me whom I became friends with and would regularly meet up. This became my world and I was wrapped up in this cancer bubble where I felt safe with people in a similar situation as me.

I had Four lots of FEC chemo and after the first two my hair began to fall out and I decided to shave it off. My partner did this for me with my little girl watching so we tried to make it a fun thing for her. I know when she went to bed I cried and I cried and I cried. To me losing my breast was nothing but losing my hair made me feel like a hideous freak. That and the weight gain from the steroids I felt miserable, unattractive and just wanted to curl up and give up.

But I didn’t, somewhere within me I found my strength to get on with it, luckily for me I had relatively few side effects from chemo and as my bump got bigger the reality that I soon would have a new baby would kick in. I still didn’t get excited though like new mums to be, I didn’t want to shop for new baby things as it was all so uncertain and by this time they had told me I had got complete Placenta Previa which now was a complication to my pregnancy. This would mean I couldn’t give birth naturally and that I would have to have a C-section. My oncologist was quite worried about this as I may have to have a delay in chemo and also my immune system would be low, meaning I could get an infection and not heal properly.

April 8th 2013 I was admitted to A&E with a high temperature feeling unwell as that day my daughter had had the sick bug. Because of the chemo 2 weeks before I had picked this bug up too but had to be checked at A&E for other infections. As I was there I too was sick which brought on my labour unexpectedly and had to be rushed in for an emergency C-section. It was one of the most traumatic times of my life. I was on my own with only nurses around me.

At around 7am on the 9th of April 2013 my little Alfie was born weighing 5lbs 13oz 5 weeks early. I didn’t get a chance to see him properly as he was rushed off to be resuscitated and to have a blood transfusion. I too had one at this point and was then put in recovery to rest.

It was 11pm that night when I eventually got to hold him in my arms this tiny little person who I thought I would never get to meet, he had tubes and pipes in him but he still managed to look up at me and my heart melted and the tears just fell. I really could not believe that he had made it here through everything and for a moment in time all the bad stuff that had happened just vanished. I went back to the ward happy but also sad as that little dark figure on my shoulder kept pushing those horrid thoughts back in my mind that I will not be here to see my children grow up. So hard to push those feeling aside knowing I had to be a strong mum and be there for my children as daily routines still had to continue.

After a week in hospital Alfie and I came home and the bonding stage could continue. I wont lie the next few months for me was hard emotionally and physically not only did I have a new-born and a toddler but I also had to start another tough regime of Chemo this time 3 lots of Tax this was tough because it made all my bones ache and there were some days I did not have the strength to lift my baby. But I did and I plodded on with night feeds, changes and looked after my little girl too. Rich had gone back to work so I had to do it alone, with the help of some friends and family.

My Chemo ended middle of June 2013 and over the on coming months my hair began to grow back tuft by tuft. This for me was so exciting as I longed to have my long hair back as I always took pride in my appearance, although now I still felt hideous. Gradually I started to get my life back although physically I was drained most days and those bad thoughts still loomed in my mind. Its so hard to stay positive like people say some people just can be that way whilst others find it hard to do and I’m one of those people.

Christmas 2013 came and I couldn’t believe I was still here because I didn’t think I would see one let alone two Christmases. I enjoyed the festive season with my baby, little girl and Rich.

Unfortunately my relationship broke up in February 2014 the pressure of it all got too much and as I had realised just how short life really is I took the decision that I had to get out and be on my own with my two children. It was the hardest thing I had to do but it was also the best thing I have done. Rich and I remain friends and he is still very much apart of the children’s lives.

I am now settled in a house where I grew up, Breea is starting School this September and I will get to see her on her first day. At the moment I am fighting to get the funding to have my other breast removed. I have contacted different areas to fund it but have been refused on the basis that I am not a gene carrier yet in some areas I know they will fund a double mastectomy as I know people who have had it done and not been gene carriers.

It’s a postcode lottery and I unfortunately live or lived in an area that will not fund this surgery. They also feel that the cancer is more likely to could come back else if it does, rather than back in the other breast. I am a young woman who not only wants to be here to see my kids grow up and if I feel removing my other breast will help towards this, I really don’t think I should be declined. Its been an emotional journey and a tough ride to ride. I want to feel like a woman again, I want my breasts to look the same because I know when I look in the mirror those scars will still be there and I will live with it for the rest of my life. Its who I am now and it is apart of me but just a simple op to make me feel normal again that’s all I ask, especially when young girls who feel inadequate with their breasts can have surgery on the NHS. I don’t want to be a page three model, a celebrity or be in the public eye. I just want to be Polly Simpson a mother of two who can dance, make people laugh, be creative and be a little bit mad because I am. I just want to get on with my life, I will always have my worries but I just want to move on, close that chapter of my life and open another to a whole new adventure.

My children are my world, Alfie and I have a very special bond as we went through it all together and a part of me thanks him for coming in to the world because if I hadn’t been pregnant that feeling to check would not have happened and I may never have found my lump.

Please all young, old, male, female and pregnant ladies too. Check check check your breasts.

Thank you for reading my story.

Polly Simpson September 2014

I keep repeating myself!

Hello people

It is a long time since I wrote a blog. I think if I’m being honest I thought they would be more popular than they were so I slid away in the hope that nobody noticed. I waited for the “Where are you, we miss you” comments, and I’m still waiting a year later. Perhaps something came up and you never had time. Yes, that’s it!

So why am I back now? Well, I am going to mention another mind blowing episode in my life that will have you all sitting up in your chair, riveted to my every word. But before I press on I shall give you a couple of minutes to write a “So glad you’re back” message. ………………………………! That’s long enough. I shall read them all after and thank you for your kind words – in advance.

A lot has happened but at this point in time I want to leave most of the information so that you can’t wait for the next blog. A bit like the end of Eastenders. Keep ’em wanting more!!! I have had a few medical problems. Not much, just my liver, lungs, chest, memory and left knee to name a few. In the past few months I have visited many different hospitals and have thought about writing a Who’s-Who of the NHS world. I’ve almost got my very own parking spot.

The memory problem is the best because I tend to forget about all the other problems I have. The first two appointments I had – firstly I forgot what time it was, and secondly I forgot how to get there. This is both true. I went again today and the psychologist called me last week and asked me if I could make today. I told her I would check my appointments and I would call her back. Next day she called me to say she thought I was calling her back. I said I had forgot!!

My sense of direction is diabolical and well known to everyone who knows me. I went to the next town about three miles away. Coming home I found myself totally in the wrong direction and unsure how to get home. Another time I was delivering leaflets and did a lot of walking, so much so that I didn’t recognise where I was in my own town. I called my wife to explain I was lost, and could she come and get me. After telling her what landmarks I could see she worked out that I was about fifteen steps round the corner to our local Tesco, which is half a mile from our house. Never been that side of Tesco. Had no reason to. I even stopped and asked someone where I was. They looked at me rather odd and walked off. I think they had seen me pass several times. I even went to put a leaflet in a house where the woman was standing by the door. She told me that she already had two leaflets, both delivered by me. Come to think of it, I did feel a little dizzy.

So now I rely on my sat nav. It tells me where to go, when to turn, what exit to take on the roundabout etc. Brilliant. If only I could get something that will tell me where I put my glasses/keys/wallet/phone/drink/shoes. That would be good. I also have this habit of repeating myself. I also have this habit of repeating myself which people say is very annoying. And I attempt to open what I think will be an extremely interesting conversation only to be told that we have just spent thirty minutes all talking about exactly that.

There are benefits. I can watch programmes I have seen before, or read a book that I have read before and it seems like it is the first time as I have completely forgotten who is who and what is happening. And I also have this habit of repeating myself!

As for all the other ailments. I have to have a biopsy of my lung and also my liver. I asked if it can be done at the same time, like buy one get one free. The consultant laughed like I had just cracked a joke. I was serious, while they are in there may as well save time and hit it both. Mind you, I suppose it is like a pregnant woman having a caesarean and whilst there whip out the old appendix. I pretended it was just a joke and we all laughed with such merriment. But I thought “Why not?”

The left knee will have to be replaced I’m afraid, just like the right knee already has. But they are telling me that I need to lose weight first. I went on a diet four weeks ago. The first week after – nothing. The second I lost two pounds – yay!! The third I put a pound back on and the fourth I stayed the same. Four weeks. lost a pound. This is not as easy as it looks. I have tried to trick the machine like standing naked in Boots the chemist, but it didn’t make any difference and the policeman told me it to stick to it. The diet that is, not the machine.

But having said all of this, life is not so bad that I am letting these things affect my life. I can still walk okay albeit with one foot in the road with the other on the pavement to square it up. The lungs and liver I’m sure will be fine and I await the results of the biopsies to see whether I will still be able to play the piano. And as for the memory, I am sure that will be okay too as long as I can stop repeating myself.

Now, I’m off to read all those “Glad you are back” and the “Can’t wait till the next hilarious blog” messages. I have a feeling this may take awhile.

Now what was I saying?

Goodbye!