Day 25: Waiting

Today was a day of waiting.

Today was a day of waiting.

A day of finalising details about something I’m planning over the weekend to raise some money for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Campaign.

More will emerge over the Easter weekend, but in the mean time hit that donate button.

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Day 24: Johan Cruyff

Earlier today news emerged that a football legend had passed away.

Earlier today news emerged that a football legend had passed away.

Johan Cruyff was one of the greatest players ever to grace the game, but also an innovator whose direct legacy will be felt for years to come.

A prodigy who emerged from the back streets of postwar Amsterdam, he led his hometown team Ajax to several domestic trophies and a hat-trick of European cups in the early 1970s.

Blessed with a razor-sharp mind, silky skills, a tremendous burst of pace and a powerful shot, he was the complete footballer in an era of ‘total football‘.

Moving on to Barcelona, in his first season (1973-74) he led the Catalan side to the title in an era of Real Madrid dominance, even destroying their bitter rivals 5-0 in Madrid.

Then in the summer of that year, he captained the famous Dutch side which lit up the World Cup in Germany. Although they ultimately lost 2-1 in the final to the formidable host nation, it is still the brilliant ‘Oranje’ who we still talk about.

Although he missed out on the 1978 World Cup (reportedly due to a kidnap threat his family received), he later moved to the North American Soccer League (LA Aztecs and Washington Diplomats), before coming back home to Ajax and then Feyenoord.

Of the all-time greats (Pele, Maradona, Di Stefano) he was the only one who truly excelled as both a player and manager. In the 1980s he managed Ajax to domestic and European success but it was at Barca where he made an indelible mark.

Establishing the ‘dream team’ they won four successive titles and the long cherished European Cup in 1992. But he left a vital legacy of open, attacking football, fuelling an era of dominance under proteges like Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola and now Luis Enrique.

His recent death, due to lung cancer, is a tragedy but his legacy of footballing excellence is will live on for a long time to come.


Day 23: The Checkup

Every six months I travel to a local hospital to have my brain scanned by a loud machine.

Every six months I travel to a local hospital to have my brain scanned by a loud machine.

Called an MRI scanner (which stands for Magnetic resonance imaging), it provides an image of my brain tumour for my cancer team to analyse.

Ever since my original diagnosis in the summer of 2012, every six months I have had these checkups to see if my brain cancer has got worse.

This is all a bit nerve-wracking, broadly similar to waiting for exam results (really important exam results), but thankfully I have managed to get used to it.

After venturing into a clinical room, I wait for two of my cancer team to break me the news.

The first set of results in 2012 showed some shrinkage of the tumour and ever since they have been ‘stable’, much to my relief.

Despite the positive news so far, I remain fully aware that one day the news might not be so good, which is why it remains essential that we have a well-functioning NHS (are you listening Jeremy Hunt?) and smarter cancer research.

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Days 10-22: AWOL

Eleven days of absence from a cancer fundraising campaign doesn’t sound too good does it?

Shut Happens

Eleven days of absence from a cancer fundraising campaign doesn’t sound too good does it?

But when you have cancer in your brain, some kind of weird intestinal issue going on and severe headaches for a couple of days, it kind of knocks you out of your stride.

So, although my fundraising efforts for Marie Carie’s Daffodil campaign have taken a blow, there are still 8 days left to raise some money for a great cause.

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Reading list:


Day 9: Unsung Hero

Today I was deeply saddened to read of the death of George Martin, the music producer who came to be known as the ‘fifth Beatle’.

Today it was deeply sad to read of the death of George Martin, the music producer known as the ‘fifth Beatle’.

That unofficial title was not an exaggeration, as he was fundamental to The Beatles albums and subsequent global success.

Although not alive when the iconic group were active, they were – and still are – one of the key musical acts of my lifetime.

From their early pop singles to their later rock albums, they helped shape post-war popular music but also remain an enduring influence on successive generations.

George Martin, with his background in classical music and radio comedy, turned out to be the perfect foil for the four young men from Liverpool.

His passing at age 90 is a cause for mourning and yet he lived an extraordinary life, producing 30 number-one singles in the UK and 23 in the US, numerous Grammys and Lifetime achievement awards.

Paul McCartney left this tribute on Facebook earlier today:

Paul McCartney Facebook Tribute