At emerge poverty free we work through local partners in East Africa to help people lift themselves out of poverty. Sometimes this is through an education project or by provision of clean water, and sometimes it is by establishing a demonstration farm, so that local communities can learn about improved farming techniques and better crops.
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.
As much as "social enterprise" is a buzzword these days, there are people who reject this label entirely. 'Reluctant social entrepreneur,' Iqbal Wahhab is one such person. Sitting in Roast Restaurant in Borough Market, London, enjoying a delicious macchiato and the exceptional service of their highly-rated staff, I questioned Iqbal's hesitation to embrace this categorisation of his long-standing work supporting the community.
A competitive fundraising climate with 'market-savvy' donors creates a demand for bigger and tougher challenges. It puts pressure on charities and fundraisers to stand-out and show why they are most deserving of support. I welcome that - I want everyone to know where their hard-earned money goes when they donate to us.
It's less than three weeks to go until the General Election. Whatever your political views I think we all agree that these are interesting times as we use our vote to influence what happens over the next five years. For bowel cancer, we see the new Parliament as an opportunity to say loud and clear that we must save and improve lives by setting out within that time frame the significant steps we need to take to beat bowel cancer.
In the past week, we've seen four new election manifestos - but with both Labour and the Tories struggling to make any kind of decisive poll gain, some old ideas are rearing their heads. The Tories, failing to achieve the desperately-awaited 'crossover' in the polls, are very rapidly ditching their stern economic message of 'tough choices' and attempting to resurrect the groaning corpse of the 'big society.'
As a university undergraduate, I'm hopefully poorer than I shall ever be again. Actually, that's probably a lie. But negative job and property-ladder prospects aside, as a student, isn't it my prerogative to lament my current financial situation? And is it not, therefore, permitted to be as socially irresponsible as I see fit?
There are some people in this world who are true inspirations to us all. You might not have had the honour of meeting one of these people yet, but they won't be far away. They'll be quietly and diligently going about their business without you even noticing - but they'll be making a big difference to a lot of people who really need the help.