I just didn’t know…

Fiona Shaw

Fiona Shaw at the BMA Medical Book Awards in September 2011

 “I was 34; I knew people who’d had breast cancer – some who’d died. Some who’d lived. I read about it – hell, I’d even done a Run for Life. Turns out I didn’t have a clue. Working on ‘Being Sarah’ changed my life.”

says Fiona Shaw, editor and publisher of ‘Being Sarah’.

“But the messages surrounding breast cancer are so complex and contradictory I just don’t know what to do about it…”

Today’s post is by Fiona Shaw who runs her own publishing company – Wordscapes. Since working together on the book Fiona’s become our friend and she often turns up in my posts, you know doing stuff like going to Buckingham Palace and swanky book awards in London. She’s a super-smart fun person, her zest for life is infectious and I love the time we spend together. She can also spell better than anyone I know. And yup, she’s even done a Race for Life!

This is Fiona’s post:

“And so October heralds Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), and – this year – a Being Sarah blog every day. Each and every one of which, I hope, will inform, challenge or add something to breast cancer awareness – in its widest sense. Because I can honestly say that, before I started work on Being Sarah, I didn’t have a clue about breast cancer, and the issues, debates and controversies surrounding it. They are, I guess, out there. If you’re looking. But they’re just not questions and debates that are covered by the mainstream media. If I now know just a fraction of the things I didn’t know before, then it’s down to Being Sarah. Continue reading

Show me the money

A couple of months ago I was just going into the swimming baths and a woman came in behind me and asked the receptionist, ‘Could I leave some leaflets for you to display about a local healthy eating and weight loss group?’ And the woman behind reception said without pausing, ‘No, we don’t display leaflets.’ So the woman with the leaflets turned round and left.

But that was blatantly not true, because on the counter, right there was a cardboard leaflet holder containing leaflets for a cancer charity’s ‘Race for Life’ event taking place in Liverpool. This event is not for a breast cancer specific charity, but the leaflet has a picture showing women in pink t-shirts, and the irritating slogan of ‘Join the girls’, (well it irritated me), implying that this is an event for women. At the time I had a sense of feeling that it was wrong, a health facility supporting a national cancer reearch charity, but not a local health group.

And, the ‘Race for Life’ event happened this weekend. I was reminded of that because one of my squash friends told me she was taking part in this event. I said, ‘I hope you’re not wearing a pink t-shirt!’ and she laughed. But she told me she was doing it with her friend, whose boyfriend’s mother has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and is now being treated. And she wanted to do something.

I totally get that. She wanted to do something.

Continue reading