This blog is about our friend and long-standing FSC-er Michelle, and to ask for your help. A few months before the pandemic Michelle received a devastating diagnosis. She was told that the general dizziness she had been experiencing, along with a pins-and-needles sensation in her face, and tingles in her hands, was being caused by an inoperable brain tumour, called a Pontine Glioma.
Due to the location of the tumour, surgery was not an option. It was a shocking piece of news to receive, especially for someone newly married, in their 30s, with two young children.
Since receiving this diagnosis, Michelle’s treatment has been about containment – stopping the tumour growing – and with the brilliant care of the NHS, has involved a course of radiotherapy, and aggressive rounds of chemo. And since then, we – Michelle, her husband Simon, her family, friends and colleagues – haven’t really known too much about what the future holds.
But it is essentially a life-limiting condition. The truth that dare not speak its name is that this is a situation whereby time is fragile and precious, and measured in months and years, rather than decades and lifetimes.
Michelle recently had emergency surgery to alleviate swelling on the brain, and now the tumour threatens to rob Michelle’s very young children, Otto and Poppy, of their Mum way too soon. She needs some pioneering cancer treatment, called Dendritic Cell Therapy, available in Germany.
And so we are all on the fundraising trail, and that is why I write and why we as a team here at FSC are starting to push this crucial message. Three rounds of therapy will cost £77,000, although there is a very high chance that more treatment will be required, so we are going to raise as much as we can and hopefully much more than that figure.
Many of you will know Michelle, although some of you may not; she’s an amazing individual, a brilliant colleague and professional, and I have been stunned by the courage, strength and positivity with which she has handled the journey she has been on since that diagnosis 16 months ago.
Michelle and her family face a very uncertain future, and life feels extremely unfair and cruel. It also feels personal. Michelle has been a friend for many years, having worked with my wife Kate in a previous role, before deciding to leave a successful and very well-established agency to join FSC as employee number two, in 2011, when we were in full start-up mode.
But now, after all this turmoil, we are so grateful to have the opportunity to do something positive for Michelle, and would be so grateful if you could donate something to her fund, no matter how big or small. And please help us spread the word. The link to her husband Simon’s page is here: Simon Noakes is fundraising for Yes to Life (justgiving.com)
Thanks for reading this. I know we are not in easy times ….and anything you can do would be amazing.
Mark Stretton is MD and a co-founder of Fleet St Communications