Stop Trying to Organise People!!! ~ A Guest Blog by Sarah Burbidge

We were asleep and Wayne answered his phone with a “mate are you OK!” I shot up pillows stacked and waited for him to return. I think we tried to discuss it, a far too early wake up loomed, so we pretended to go to sleep. Either that night or a few days later (as can’t remember how much we knew) I did what you should never do with illness and headed over to Google. Even though I spelled it “acute lymblostick” it came up with a headline from the NHS website which read: “Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells. It progresses rapidly and aggressively and requires immediate treatment.” The search didn’t give me suggestions, which worried me (I work in web search stuff) as I thought this must be quiet rare.

Felix is Wayne’s godson who he admires deeply, I am mindful that I have to be cautious about saying what I read on Google, so I would have said something like “I think this is really bad”. I talked about what we could do to support and said about offering Wayne’s services (as he’s a great cook) to take them dinners. Wayne was a bit offish and said: “if they want help they will ask”. He’s been best mates with Dylan since school and his friendship with The Browns is strong. His call is to “let them digest it and they know where we are if they need us”. I have a habit of wanting to organise people and came to realise that this was not the best time.

We popped round after chemo had begun and I recall Kerry saying to Wayne after Felix left the room, “he’s different isn’t he?” “can you see a change?”. Not many words were said and more of a look but the basic answer was “yes”. Kerry did an agreeing nod with a loose bottom lip as if she was looking for some clarity that some big changes were happening, but didn’t quite want to hear it. We wanted to do something extra but didn’t know what!! Wayne went all guns blazing setting up a big charity challenge. I most probably went to Pinterest to look for inspiring quotes, but there was no way a quote would help here. I am powerless in my knowledge, I can’t comprehend the emotion The Browns are feeling.

In summary, I have no words!

We went to a children’s cancer charity event to “Light up Bournemouth Pier Gold” organised by a mum who very sadly lost her child ‘Isabel Baker’ to Leukaemia the previous year, just days after Isabel’s first birthday. Following her death, the mum (Vicky Turner) set up a charity the ‘Isabel Baker Foundation’ which supports bereaved parents.

The organisers invited us to buy a tea light or two and stand on the beach, we were meant to be in shape of a ribbon, standing against the rope. People were huddled together and my inner voice was saying “oh I could organise this better” – actually I have a habit of letting my inner voice out (which I did) and Wayne said, “stop trying to organise people”. I went silent as it hit me harder than ‘Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball’ what was actually happening here. I started to actually consider and comprehend what a lot of the people who were there on Bournemouth beach that evening were going through. Holy crap, major reality check!!! They don’t care about organising themselves into a perfect ribbon shape this is about being together and standing united with the families who have lost their children to cancer and those who are currently battling the disease. It’s about raising awareness that this is common and it is likely to impact a family you know. Oh my god I feel like a total un-compassionate cow that I had mentioned about rope organisation! I keep my inner voice in. My thoughts and tears on the beach now say: “I am here and I will be silent and the families I stand beside, I hope that me being here gives you strength and courage to continue to fight. I support you “.

Woah that was emotional writing that!!

So very grateful that Felix and Kerry started to blog as it helps me understand more about the physical and emotional challenges that the whole family have faced are facing. I feel that I can give much more support with social media than I could face to face, a like and a thumbs up emoji is my way of letting you and others know that I support you. I especially love the blogs about ‘where you were and what you have become’. Your all pretty awesome really, who knew!! Oh wait Wayne did! Love you all, Team Brown Forever x x x x x x

Sarah

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