Around four years ago while I was living in Brazil, I found out that my mother had cancer. Initially the prognosis wasn’t clear though within a couple of days we had found out that it was terminal as the cancer had spread throughout her body. Apparently it had just been growing for some years before it was diagnosed. Within ten days or so of finding out about it, she had passed away. It was a shock to the entire family–while she had had aches and pains with age, she had always been active and had seemed well–and while some time has now gone by, the memories of seeing her suffering over her last few days are still very clear and very present, and am not entirely sure that those memories will truly ever fade.
Several other friends I have known have also had their own battles with cancer, and of course, I am in a far from unique position. While some battles do go well and treatment can be successful, seeing the terrible suffering the cancers and the treatments cause the patients can be quite awful. If I can help Cancer Research raise money towards researching cures and treatments that can alleviate that suffering, then maybe my expeditions and journeys, and these journeys across Greenland and to the South Pole in particular, may actually end up counting for something much beyond just my own personal challenges – I very much hope that this can be the case.
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