One year ago today my friend Michelle died.
She was just thirty-four.
She was just thirty-four and yet she lived her life so fiercely and so fully she achieved way more than many people twice her age.
When Michelle was first diagnosed with leukaemia she became determined not to let it hold her back. ‘I tried to do everything in my power to make sure this ‘thing’ inside me, that I had to take medication for, never stopped me achieving anything,’ Michelle said in an interview for this blog back in 2013. ‘I worked harder. I trained harder. I raised money for leukaemia and lymphoma research by taking part in a triathalon, I was head-hunted for a new job position. I was sticking two fingers up at the disease.’
After a couple of years on medication Michelle’s leukaemia progressed into a much more aggressive form, meaning that she had to go through two rounds of chemo, full body radiation and a bone marrow transplant.
After her first round of chemo, Michelle’s doctors told her that it hadn’t worked and she should go home and spend what time she had left with her family. Her response was wonderful and typical Michelle. ‘I told the doctor in no uncertain terms that I’d had worse hangovers than his chemotherapy and that he should go back and double the dose. The doctor told me that the chances of a second round of chemo working were very slim, but I was willing to take the chance. I wasn’t going to give up! In the end I tried a different type of chemo which thankfully did work and allowed me to move forward to my stem cell transplant.’
You might think that having to endure all of this would cause a person to spend the next year or so chilling on a sun-lounger or massage table, but not Michelle.
She immediately began training for a 24 hour, non-stop, 100km walk from London to Brighton, raising thousands for the research facility Leuka at the hospital that saved her life.
Michelle was really keen to help motivate and inspire other people who had been diagnosed with leukaemia and we talked about running motivational workshops together.
But then, tragically, her leukaemia came back.
For months after her death last year I felt determined to do something to raise money in her memory but I couldn’t decide what.
Then the idea came to me to write a book and donate the profits to Michelle’s favourite charity.
That way I could also get Michelle’s inspirational message out into the world by republishing her interview.
Dare to Dream: Inspirational Musings on Life, Love & Creativity is crammed full of advice and tips on just about everything.
- overcoming fear
- how to write a book
- mindfulness for beginners
- dating with confidence
- dancing your way to happiness
- the power of forgiveness
- falling in love with your career
- pursuing your passions
PLUS there’s the full inspirational interview with Michelle about the lessons she learnt from her diagnosis.
When I interviewed Michelle I asked her if she had any advice for people based on what she had been through. Here’s what she had to say:
‘You have to remember that you can’t fulfil all your dreams at once. You need to look at the little things you can do to change the direction of your life. These little changes, one by one, make one big change and when you look back. you’re in a much better place than when you started.’
Wise words to live by.
All profits from the book (at least £1 per copy) will be donated to the charity Leuka, helping find a cure for leukaemia.