A Tale Of Woe And Hope

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Everyone in this country, perhaps everyone in this world, has been affected by cancer in some shape or form. Whether you've lost a friend or family member, or they have lost someone and you feel their pain. If you do some digging you can find plenty of statistics all about cancer, for example, according to Cancer Research UK 1 in 3 people will develop cancer at some stage in their life, cancer incidence rates have risen since 1979 by 23% and of the 309,500 cases of new cancer each year more than 156,000 will die from cancer each year. Shocking statistics. However when you consider that developing cancer is an inevitable part of growing old, 1 in 3 people developing it isn't a shocking number at all.

What is devastating is cancer which that affects younger people. Although the risk of breast cancer increases with age, it can affect women as young as 20 with lethal consequences and 1 in 4 people will die from this disease.  Let's consider lung cancer. It is the most common cause of cancer death and is responsible for the deaths of a staggering 1.3million people each year. However, the most common cause of this cancer is tobacco smoking. Something which could very easily be avoided. There are genetic predisposition factors, and a few chemicals which can also cause it, such as radon or asbestos, but lung cancer is mainly caused by people smoking. The majority of people who contract lung cancer die.

Needless to say, cancer is very much a driving force in people's lives nowadays, whether it's researchers striving to understand more to develop cures, or friends and family hoping and praying for a good outcome. We don't have to look far to find charities raising money to tackle these issues and indeed, these charities raise a lot of money. But what do you do if you've contracted a cancer that the NHS won't treat because they deem it incurable?

The Hope For Laura Fund has been set up to raise £80,000 in order to get a young mother to America for a year of treatment which has a good chance of saving her life. She has a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer and she's only expected to live another 5 years. At only 24 years of age this is devastating and with a young son, it is unthinkable. But the treatment in America may save her and so her family strive to raise the money to get her there. Their aim is to do this by October.


There's the website. Check it out and read more about what they're doing to raise the money. The site brought a tear to my eye (though I am rather emotional!) and I sincerely hope they manage to raise the money they need!

Thank you for reading :)

Last minute is never recommended!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

I am the Queen of procrastination, finding an infinite number of things to distract me while I should be doing work, whether this be Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook, tidying my room or cleaning out the animals. The other day I took frequent walks around the house, telling myself it was to keep my legs stretched when in actual fact, I just didn't like the work I was doing. Things always get left to the last minute, for example, the 3000 word literature review which I managed to complete in one night, though I'm doubtful of it's quality. It might have gone better if I'd actually known how to write a literature review, but I suspect many people thought the same as me. In the case of the review however, it wasn't my intention to leave it until the last minute. I firmly believed that I had 2 weeks to complete the work. I actually only had 1 week, and that one week happened to be perhaps one of the busiest of my year so far. So it was that Sunday came around, and armed with Red Bull and chocolate, I stared at the pc for a good 12 hours. But it all got done.

Now I find myself sat staring at the pc trying to prepare myself for questions that may or may not be asked, conscious of the minutes slipping away, knowing that this time, it being last minute wasn't my fault. I just wasn't given a whole lot of time to prepare. Which annoys me more than you'd think. Afterall if you've left something till last minute and you don't do as well as you should have done, you can't be too annoyed with yourself because it was your decision to leave it till then. If something has been shoved on you last minute however, and you don't quite do as well as you'd hoped or should have done, well then it's not your fault, but it's something that goes against you anyway.

What will put the cherry on the cake is the awkward question prep being for nothing. As it stands I am revising metagenomics, the Human Microbiome Project, any references surrounding the one I was given to read (accounting to something in the 30's I believe), while preparing answers for why I want that particular PhD and why KCL and Oxford (you'd think that's be pretty obvious). Yet all I have to do all that in is one day...

In short, don't leave stuff till last minute. It never really ends as well as it should!


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