I am loving life right now!
Sometimes it’s amazing, sometimes it’s not. You learn to take the rough with the smooth – all part of this wonderful rollercoaster in *Cancer-Land.
I tweeted today about being dealt a shit hand thanks to my secondary breast cancer diagnosis but it’s really changed the way I live my life, in a positive manner.
I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would be doing some of the things I’ve done. From my 40 things before 40 list, having my own community radio show to starring in a tv advert for Breast Cancer Now. I mean, I’m even ‘friends’ with Dame Julie Walters!! Ok, so I haven’t actually seen her for 4 years but she does ask after me and the children a few times each year and always sends us a hamper at Christmas – definitely bezzie mates 😉
The past 6 weeks has seen me take on a new challenge – I learnt to ballroom dance!
My hospice, St Francis, which is in Berkhamsted has supported me and my children since I was diagnosed nearly 5 years ago. They rely heavily on charitable donations and hold lots of fundraisers through the year to be able to fund the care they give to patients and their families.
The ‘Strictly Learn Dancing’ fundraiser was brought back this year (after a few years break) and I just HAD to take part. I applied last August/September time and found out in October that I was in!!. I didn’t actually have a partner but I didn’t tell them that!
Each couple has to raise at least £600 so I started baking cakes and selling them to my friends. At Christmas I made and sold cookie jars and also had a cake stall at a fair. I raised £660 through my baking and then another £465 online.
I asked on Facebook if anyone fancied being my partner and thankfully Gav, a fellow presenter at Radio Dacorum, stepped in! I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better partner.
Our dance lessons started on the 7th of February after being cancelled the week before due to a snow threat! For the next 6 weeks we were shown how to dance a waltz and a jive.
I really didn’t expect it to be a tricky as it was! There was so much to remember but our dance teachers Brian and Shirley were so patient with us, breaking down the dances to manageable chunks, repeating the steps over and over until we got it. The waltz came easier than the jive – it wasn’t until week 5 that I felt I knew what I was doing.
And then, before we knew it, it was the night of the grand finale!
There were 9 couples in total, all with a personal reason for wanting to fundraise for the hospice. We finally got to know each other on Saturday whilst we had our hair and make up done and got ready for the show.
As 7.30pm approached, so did our nerves! There were about 250 friends and family in the audience waiting to watch us.
I went a little blank during our waltz but we managed to pull it back thankfully. I was really annoyed at myself because we’ve danced it faultlessly so any times. The jive was much better (although I did forget my box steps 🙄). The nerves just took over. The jive was scored and we got two 8’s and a 9.
Everyone was amazing!
Then, as quick as that, it was the end of the night. We all gathered on stage waiting to find out who had won the audience vote and then the judges vote.
Unbelievably it was Gav and I who won the audience vote. I was absolutely over the moon!! Our trophy has pride of place on my mantelpiece.
I’m still on cloud 9. I keep watching the videos of us dancing and am just so chuffed with what we all achieved. I’m truly going to miss seeing the other couples on a Thursday evening.
Definitely living my best life.
*I wouldn’t recommend it 😉