Ten years later, what are my reflections on my experience as a carer? First, I never saw myself as a carer. The word 'carer' implies forced responsibilities. I was simply and overwhelmingly John's girlfriend who only wanted the best for him. We had wonderful times together - cancer isn't all bad - and his illness only made us appreciate each other even more.
Mental health affects millions of people all over the world and whether you're caring for somebody who suffers from a mental health condition or you feel you may be suffering from a mental health issue yourself, one thing that is important is finding information that will help you to understand these conditions in more detail because knowledge is power.
Most of us say we would do anything for our loved ones. And we mean it - we all know instinctively how precious our relationships are and how much they contribute to a life well lived. But when family and friends start to need more and more help to maintain their quality of life, the reality of doing anything, and providing support day in, day out, can take a very heavy toll.
For the 10,466 carers in my constituency getting the right support is crucial. Caring for an older or disabled relative or friend can take a serious toll on carers' mental and physical health, their relationships and family finances. Without support this can lead to carers being overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, and at worst this can bring about exhaustion, suffering a physical injury and needing care for themselves.
At 19 years old I was hideously unprepared for the caring role thrust upon me. Yet, when my girlfriend's health deteriorated overnight, I willingly stepped up to meet the challenge. We're now married and I give my wife full-time, around the clock, care. Along with millions of other carers in the UK, the avoidable cost of caring has changed my life beyond recognition.
I am always immensely uncomfortable when anyone tries to put a monetary value on dementia, purely because I know that there is so much more to calculating the 'cost' of dementia than could ever be accurately represented by the use of pound signs. The emotional, all-encompassing, life-changing (and life-shortening) effects of dementia reach far and wide into every family affected.
Care Workers are vital. We are the eyes and ears on the ground. We know how much Mrs Smith normally eats and sleeps, if she's been this confused before, if she's in more pain than usual. We know what doctors need to know in order to make a diagnosis. We can mean the difference between prevention and cure.
As I write we are coming towards the end of carers' week 2014. Hopefully you will have been caught up in the influx of data being spread your way about how much carers save the economy each year (about £119bn - you're welcome) and heard some stories from carers about what they do and how they manage.
The world can feel like a scary place for any young person striding out on their own for the first time. Thrust into a world of greatly increased responsibility, the transition to adulthood is a challenging time. For most young people there is a support network to help them through this period. They fall back on the support of their family and friends; they learn and adapt. However, for young people leaving the care system this support is sadly often limited or non-existent. All too frequently they are left to fend for themselves without the necessary skills or even a suitable place to live.
What might be better than a marriage tax allowance? For a start, what about increased access to relationship counselling? Something which might actually help save a struggling relationship. Unlike the proposed marriage tax break which even David Cameron acknowledges won't stop anyone from getting a divorce.