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Today is Valentine’s Day where we show how much we love our significant others or friends. If you have a loved one going through treatment for cervical cancer or abnormalities, it can be a really difficult time for a relationship. People often feel like there’s nothing they can do to help, especially male partners. It can be hard to relate to.
We aim to support everyone who is affected by cervical cancer, including the important people in their lives. We’ve been lucky enough to speak to a couple of men who have been through what may be the most difficult thing their relationship ever goes through. We’re sharing their inspiring stories of turning this energy into something incredible by fundraising for us, so that more people will be spared from what they have been through.
Martin’s wife Claire had an abnormal result from a smear test in 2018 and was very sadly diagnosed with cervical cancer.
“Claire started to seek information on the internet and came across your site. It has been a valued source of information for both of us.”
A cancer diagnosis can take its toll psychologically on both the one that is diagnosed and their partner. The anxiety, anger, frustration and the idea of losing a loved one can be overwhelming.
Martin talks about how this made him feel:
“There is no easy way to deal with this situation. There will be anger, frustration, anxiety and of course the thoughts of the worst scenario of losing a loved one. Yes, all this will happen but with love and hope, it can be overcome. Claire is the most important thing in the world to me and she had to be sure in her own mind that the decisions we made were for the best result possible for her. I know that I can give all the love she needs and eventually we will come out the other end so much stronger.”
Since Claire’s diagnosis, Martin has been dedicated to supporting her. They haven’t hidden away from her diagnosis, rather dealing with it head on, discussing everything together.
Martin has also dedicated lots of time to fundraising for Jo’s and raising awareness of the importance of smear tests. This year, he has entered two runs: the Sunderland half marathon on the 12th May and the Kielder marathon on the 13th October.
For Martin, fundraising has been a coping mechanism - a great way to support the one that he loves through her diagnosis. He encourages other partners to do the same, while encouraging women eligible for screening not to think, as Claire did, “I’ll go next time”.
“It feels like even though I’m helpless to do anything myself, that by fundraising it will help others to do research and work towards prevention.”
Martin’s fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/martin-jones67
Marcus and Hayley’s lives completely changed when was diagnosed with cervical cancer in November 2018. For him, and for many partners of women diagnosed with cervical cancer the pressure to stay upbeat made a difficult situation even harder.
“To see the person you love more than anything in the world struggling both physically and mentally is heartbreaking. To know that my girl isn’t in a great place and there’s nothing I can really do about it is unbelievably frustrating.”
In January, Hayley had a radical hysterectomy, an operation which lasted eight hours.
On February 4th, Marcus and Hayley received the fantastic news that Hayley is cancer free after a successful operation. They are now looking to the future and are both running The Big Half in London to raise money together.
Marcus explains why he wants to do this:
“Have you ever felt like a building has fallen down on top of you and completely crushed you? Hayley isn’t just my wife… she is literally everything to me. Hayley has been amazing throughout this whole process and although I’ve tried to stay upbeat I feel like I’m dying inside. Throughout this whole process I’ve found myself struggling to know how to help. I’ve had no idea on where to look for advice or who’s out there that I can seek advice from. I’ve felt completely lost.
Hayley received great comfort through talking to Jo’s with people in the same situations. The information and support that was available to us both was amazing. Hayley is now taking on a new journey to try and help raise awareness for cervical cancer. Our first step is to try and raise as much money as we can for a charity that has helped us at our lowest point as a family. Without doubt this will now be a part of our lives. Whatever we can do after this to raise awareness we will.”
Marcus’ fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/marcus-harley-bps-TBH-2019-16031
Remember that we are here to support you if you are going through something similar, whether you are the one going through a diagnosis or you are supporting someone who is. Our helpline is free to call on 0808 802 8000. You can speak to others affected by cervical cancer on our forum too. We'd also love to see you at one of our support and information days for those living with and beyond a cervical cancer diagnosis, join us at Let's Meet, or Mini Meet.