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A year in the life

By John Ellison

Sunday October 28, 2012

Hello everyone,

Hope your are all ok and life is treating you as well as is possible.

Usually to celebrate anniversary’s we crack open the champagne or dine at candle lit tables but this is a strange date and one were I am not sure how to respond. In one way I want to remember it in style and in another it is a reminder of a very black day in my life. So which path should I take I ask myself as the day begins. 12 months ago to the day I was diagnosed with advanced cancer and to add to the shock I was informed it is unfortunately terminal and as it stands there is no cure. Not your run of the mill day you may think and not the news anyone wants to be told. I guess you could say my “clock is ticking” and the old adage springs to mind that I just cannot believe how quickly the time has flown.

Now you may ask “why is he thinking of celebrating?” Well the answer to that is simple, for me anyhow! I feel that since my diagnosis life has taken a surprising turn and I have discovered how beautiful life really is and how many fantastic people there are in the world. Yes of course there is the slight problem of times spent having treatment, the effects, the aches and pains but retrospectively cancer has given me a new lease of life and the phrase ‘strength through adversity’ springs to mind.

The word ‘fortunate’ is a strange one to use I know but that is how I feel. Over the last year I have managed to travel to so many places, not only meeting friends but also making new friends along the way. I have spent some beautiful moments with my family and most importantly special times with my daughter. I have lived each day as if it were my last and however odd this may sound I am being honest when I say “I am happy’.

Months hence from that dreadful day last October I realised in my predicament I could give so much back to not only those around me but also the wider public and since then I have spent most of my ‘spare’ time travelling around trying to raise awareness and funds in the hope I can help others. Having spoken on local radio stations and given interviews for a number of newspapers I have managed to get my own story over to many people who would normally have steered clear of the cancer conversation and from the feed back I have received it would seem opinions are changing and many I know are now very positive around me and comfortable to ask those difficult questions. On top of the awareness and in just 6 months we have raised over £17,000 ($27,300) which has been donated to Cancer Research in the hope it will go some way to helping find a cure!

So now you will see why I am leaning towards celebrating this anniversary and raising a glass to what has been an incredible year for not only myself but all those around me and the many new people I have met in the last 12 months. I like to think the clinking of glasses will be another way of saying “fuck you cancer” and the start of another amazing year in my life!!!

“You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about it’s width and depth”

Be strong and keep smiling!

Love to you all,


John Ellison

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