"Hey Georgie... So why have you written a comedy about that time you went blind?"
Well I'm glad you asked. Several times people have asked: why have I made my first show as a professional comedian about the time I went blind and execute it as a stand up comedy? Fair point. Unexpected blindness doesn't scream massive lolz but bare with me, this is going somewhere and is definitely related to cancer..
So I wrote a comedy about going blind. What could be funny about that? I always answer this - "Sometimes we need to find the funny." I thought going blind would be my biggest battle in my mere 29 years, it seemed like enough for one little lady to go through, but then cancer came calling.
Last year my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It all gets a bit more serious here! It was easily one of the worst phone calls I have ever received. My Dad rang, to tell me and my big brother Sam that their mother, who we adored and was a constant source of love and support all our lives, had breast cancer. She had a routine mammogram, which by the way please please get them done regularly, had she not that cancer would of grown and spread and this story would have been very different, and certainly with a more tragic ending. Within weeks it was a cancer diagnosis followed by full body scans, surgery, radiotherapy and now she is receiving hormone therapy to prevent its return.
I found myself utterly dumbfounded, how could this happen to MY mother?! She is a woman of great strength and ability who doesn't get something like cancer, she carries on when she has the flu! I naively thought cancer wouldn't come for us, but it did.
My Mum and Dad raised me, their disabled daughter, the best they knew how. Always listened to doctor's advice, made sure I attended every appointment, and eye drops were religiously put in every night. More importantly though, they fought for me. There have been times when I wanted to give up, I couldn't do battle with my body anymore and they never let me give up. They kept me strong. They fought for me. Now the tables had turned it was my Mum who needed me to fight for her.
Many cancer survivors I have met say it's easier for the patient and harder for those around them. I have to agree. When it's happening to you, you go along with what doctors say and simply endure and tolerate. For the loved one watching, it is agony. There is so little you can do. You cannot take the pain away or cure it. I didn't know how to fight for her like she did for me. She made it look so easy. I found myself doing odd jobs round the house and walking the dogs but I had and needed to do more somehow. I found the one thing I could do, just to very so slightly ease the anguish, was to make my mum laugh. Take her mind away form the tumour, radiotherapy and the scars. Do what I have always been good at and offer her some comic relief. I could give her a tiny moment of joy amongst the bullshit. Make jokes about her blue boob, a dye they use to track the tumour before surgery (we called it her Smurf boob!). Joke that the radiotherapy machines have the ability to target nuclear missiles. Or simply tell her about my day and the funny weird stuff that happens in it. Don't offer pity; find the funny where you can because when life is shit it's those tiny moments that will keep you going. It wont be funny all the time but don't let them see you cry. It won't help. Tears solve nothing. My mother never showed her tears when I was ill and I'd be damned if I would do it to her.
I will say for anyone whose loved one has cancer, is it is a long journey. The diagnosis is just the beginning. It will be followed by so many appointments, post cancer treatments and a lifetime of - "Will this come back?' You have to be strong and fight everyday alongside that person. So make it easier on yourself too and find the funny, find the light in the dark, as sometimes that's all we have.
Just to end this, I mentioned about testing. Mammograms, smear tests, prostate checks are just a few of best way to combat this dreadful disease. If we can stop before it spreads we are half way there. They are simple tests. Please never skip them. Prevention rather than cure.
And so that's why I'll be standing up against cancer with a stand up comedy gig.
On Friday I'll be taking part in a special one-off stand up comedy gig in one amazing venue - The Blackpool Tower Circus. Myself and Richard Pulsford will take to the stage to raise funds for Stand Up To Cancer, a charity very close to my heart...Tickets for the event are free and can be collected from The Blackpool Tower on the day. Donations for Stand Up To Cancer will be collected throughout the show, which will last approximately one hour.