The beginning of the year is often a time for reflection. For me, there’s a lot to reflect on for the past 12 months.

This time last year I was part-way through chemotherapy and unsure how 2013 would shape up.

My focus was getting through each day and I couldn’t think or plan ahead more than a few days. I got breathless walking up the stairs and fell asleep on the sofa by about 8pm most evenings.

I didn’t go out much – unless it was for a medical appointment or hospital visit. My world had become very small and a bit lonely.

But. I was fortunate. My body responded well to the chemo and I made it into remission. As my medical team started to turn their attention to others who needed their care, I was left trying to work out what to do next...


It took time, but in the next few months I learned how to pace myself.  I put structure in my days with visits to the gym to rebuild my strength and fitness, and by the middle of the year I felt well enough to take part in the London Bikeathon 2013 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, just a year after starting my chemotherapy.

Crossing the finish line at London Bikeathon 2013

And I started volunteering for Macmillan to exercise my brain and shake off the chemo-fog. I reviewed books and pamphlets, replied to surveys and questionnaires, and took part in focus groups and research activities.

My experience of cancer also fired my campaigning work. And I became a Macmillan campaigns blogger.

I took part in Macmillan’s Parliamentary question time and got to ask a question about the Care Bill, I talked to MPs at Westminster about the Care Bill, and I wrote about hospital parking charges.

Just before Christmas I visited the Macmillan Tree of Light in Covent Garden. It’s a great initiative and a lovely way to remember people affected by cancer. Wouldn’t it be great if other towns and cities could do something similar?

>>Watch the Tree of Light Film>>

So, that was 2013. What next?

Tackling the carers crisis

The Care Bill will be back in Parliament early in 2014, and we want to make sure that MPs know how the legislation could affect carers and the people they care for.

Making benefits fair for cancer patients at end of life

In November 2013 Macmillan reported delays in paying benefits to terminally ill cancer patients. So we’ve asked the Government to investigate how these claims are put through, so that people can get their benefits in days rather than months.

If, like me, you want to help Macmillan demand better for people affected by cancer, you can sign up to be an e-campaigner and keep up-to-date with Macmillan’s campaigns on the campaigns blog.