Cancer, the invisible assassin

6 mins read

Living through a pandemic the world has not experienced for over 100 years is a test of character and resolve to endure while coming out the other end in one piece.

In the early days, the signs were that COVID-19 would persist in disrupting our lives while not hesitating to claim lives in its most lethal form.

We have had to learn to live with the virus in limiting our social contacts, being under virtual house arrest for the best part of a year.

Cyprus is suffering a more destructive second wave while other parts of Europe batten down the hatches as a third version of the virus rips through the social fabric.

There are no assurances that Cyprus will avoid a third wave of coronavirus that could be more destructive than the current assault on our daily life.

As a society, we are slowly getting back to normal, the rest of the schools opened this week, and we can socialise outdoors.

But there is a fear that still lingers for those who take the virus seriously, with no guarantees we have got over the worst once vaccinated.

Behind the curtain of the COVID-19 test, vaccinate, offensive, there are other stories of heartbreak, lost loved ones taken away in a brutal, ruthless fashion.

COVID has coloured so much of our landscape; we lost sight of other killer diseases that come knocking in silence, destroying everything in their wake with no magic vaccine to prevent it.

As the pandemic walks among us, people are dying of cancer after fighting a painful losing battle.

Cancer can come at any time, at any age; it does not discriminate.

Many say there is no beating cancer, you can only survive it, and then it might come back for you in the darkness.

Like the virus, nobody is untouched by cancer; most people will know somebody who has had it or died from it.

The invisible assassin is no stranger to cruelty, yet modern science cannot unmask the intruder that comes in many guises.

More can be done

More can be done to help cancer patients in this country with better resources and facilities; sufferers have to feel they are not alone or an afterthought in a health system under pressure.

Our health service needs to be geared for the early detection of cancers such as breast and prostate with appropriate treatment and care of patients who develop cancer.

Many cancers have a high chance of cure if diagnosed early and treated appropriately.

Only when the horror of cancer invades our lives do we demand that something better be done in awareness campaigns and treatment.

Knowing someone who has cancer is tough to deal with, to stay positive and not think the worst.

Over the past decade or so, I have lost my mother, two very close friends and a good work colleague to cancer.

For some, the battle was longer than others, but they were confident of beating the odds, or at least giving it a go until the odds shortened against them.

You want to believe the end will not come swiftly or suddenly.

There is always hope your loved ones will survive; the alternative is unthinkable; defeat is not an option.

We would do anything to save those closest to us, to ease their pain, but cancer does not negotiate.

I discovered that again this week after receiving the crushing news that my closest friend lost his cancer battle.

We grew up together in London and went to the same high school.

We shared the same passion for Chelsea FC, foreign holidays, retro football kits, rare RnB tunes and understated designer clothes before they became mainstream.

Chris Harrison was a self-confident, witty, respectful, loyal, and unique human being (and that’s an understatement), a master of mixed tapes and perfect handwriting.

He leaves behind his legacy, bright memories and a positive vibe that will give his wife, three children, brother, and parents strength in their grief.

Friends like Chris are rarer than gold dust in utopia; it is not about what they say or do but who they are – a beacon undimmed by adversity, cynicism, jealousy, or greed.

His untimely death will leave an indelible scar, and although our paths went in different directions, our friendship was a fixed point uncorrupted by time.

There was never a need for excuses or explanations; we had an unbreakable bond beyond words.

Right now, I’m on the back of a scooter as Chris drives lost down the French riviera at night, or we are spending six weeks in Sicily among suspicious locals, or I’m trying not to laugh at the worst best man speech ever.

Chris Harrison RIP