Guest List: This is What Cancer Looks Like


** For the next month I am dedicating Mother of All Lists to Stand Up to Cancer. Each week I’ll l be sharing  persons unique account of the impact Cancer has had on their life. **

This week is totally different. It comes  from Tom Bourton who is media volunteer liaison manager for Stand Up To Cancer and Cancer Research UK.  His role involves speaking to the breadth of people who’ve had close experiences of cancer. People from all walks of life…

On a daily basis, it’s humbling to have contact with wonderful people who wish for something positive to come from what they’ve experienced. My team works to get them involved in our campaigns – featuring in TV ads, posters, press articles, social media posts and much, much more. This is some of them:

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  • Tarik and his wife Annalesha. Annalesha was diagnosed with breast cancer and sadly passed away just a couple of months ago. I continue to speak to Tarik often, as he’s keen to stay involved with us in Annalesha’s memory. Despite losing Annalesha, he’s so thoughtful about their journey through her diagnosis and treatment. His love for his family comes across so strongly in every conversation that we have and he’s determined to do all he can to raise awareness. It’s a real honour to be so close to the family to help share their story.unnamed

  •   Carla has had cancer but also recently lost two friends to the disease. It’s emotional for her each time she speaks about them and she wants to spread the message that more research is desperately needed. It’s our job to support her before, during and after any media she does for us. Carla recently took part in a really physical fundraising challenge for us and carried a keepsake with her friends’ pictures to inspire her when the going got tough.


  •  It’s been five years since David was diagnosed with testicular cancer and he continues to share his story to spread the word about the need for more research. David takes on everything with the same energy and humour he had throughout his treatment.

  • Jag and his wife Nikki have been incredible supporters for several years. Their son Amarvir was diagnosed with leukaemia seven years ago and they were told he may only live for 24 hours. One thing they’re really passionate about is raising awareness in the Sikh and Asian communities.


  •  Having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, Helen is determined to do everything she can to raise money for research. Through working together I got to meet her mum and dad too. It’s always such a joy to meet our supporter’s families. A diagnosis affects so many people, not just those who receive it, and to see everyone coming together is incredibly inspiring.unnamed-5

  • I met Alice many years ago when she supported Race For Life. After that, we kept bumping into each other at running events – she lives near me. In 2015, we ran the London Marathon together and soon we’re running the Birmingham Marathon. Alice says that running is important to her because there have been times when she couldn’t do it. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 when she was pregnant with her daughter, Macie – it’s rare to be diagnosed when pregnant. She was then diagnosed again 10 years later.

  • During a tough year of treatment including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, she couldn’t run and feared she might not be able to again. “When it’s difficult and I’m struggling, I just think about the fact that I can, and I think about people who haven’t survived who can’t be here and that stops me grumbling.” And for me, Alice stops me grumbling during races – if she can do it, I can too.

  •  I’ve only been able to mention a few of the amazing people that I get to work with, there are so many more.

  • A lot goes into raising awareness of our work, but we couldn’t do any of it without our media volunteers. It’s wonderful when the stories appear, the films are complete, or we get some results showing the impact of a project – sharing those with the individuals and families I work with is the best part of my job.




If you know of anyone who might be interested in sharing their cancer story to help raise awareness, please fill out our form here. And to support Stand Up To Cancer, please visit

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  • Reply Diego Lopes October 23, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    What an emotional post. Thank you for sharing such incredible stories!

  • Reply Now That’s What I Call A List 2017 – Mother of all Lists December 30, 2017 at 4:30 pm


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