Before my month away from the tipple, I was very self-aware about how young and immature I was. Now I feel as though I am actually an adult. Someone who can have one drink and mean one, who can have a diet Coke instead of a shot of vodka at a busy venue, who doesn't feel obliged to stay out if in fact they want to go home.
I am regularly the youngest patient on my ward, often by a good 30 years, frequently mistaken for a daughter, even a grand-daughter. This was commented upon by a radiotherapist during my five weeks of radiotherapy who welcomed me into the room with 'well, it does make a pleasant change to have a young, pert bottom to manoeuvre on to the bed!'
What makes this collection so valuable and unique is that the serum samples were taken from healthy people annually, and, in many cases up to 10 years prior to a cancer diagnosis. The collaboration will use these samples to select biomarkers which provide a clear indication of change in the early pre-diagnosis stages of disease.
Cancer is so prevalent these days that the majority of people will experience the disease either directly or indirectly during their life. Some people experience it first hand and survive, others will have had cancer 'scares', and like Mary Aboagye, many will lose dear friends to the devastating disease.