Saturday, 17 March 2012

My friend Carole

'Friendship is the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.' -- John Evelyn

Joining the Cancer Research Chat Forum wasn't something that I thought I would ever do in a million years.

But back in 2010, whilst sitting at home 'on the sick' with a baldy head, I read through some of the posts on there and I decided to register.

I observed at first. Sat on the sidelines and read about people's fears, anxieties, worries. There were sad stories but there were also some happy ones. I made sure I steered well clear of the topic 'dying with cancer,' as I didn't want to frighten myself too much back then.

What soon became clear after a few days of observing, was that a handful of people on the forum popped up all the time - answering questions, offering advice, sympathy, words of comfort to anyone who needed reassurance or just someone to talk to. They were ordinary people - not doctors, nurses or counsellors - just people who had been touched by cancer in some shape or form and wanted to help others. Most of these people were undergoing treatment for cancer themselves. The forum seemed to be a good place to go for help, and a good place to lend a hand or a listening ear.

I chipped in myself when I thought I might be able to help out, and I also threw in the odd question for debate - like 'Why are there so many bloody leaflets about cancer in cancer hospitals...'

Over the months, I became 'cyber friends' with a couple of people on there. We all had cyber names. Harryeleri (Rose), cybershot (David), Tonysong (Tony) and Dizzie (Carole)

We all had blogs, and we all supported each other by reading each others blog posts and leaving comments. We had never met in 'real life' but we learned so much about each other through the blogs, and we affectionately named ourselves the 'Blogger 5.'

I guess that the problem with meeting people on a cancer forum is.....well, cancer.

The 'Blogger 5' lost Rose and David to cancer last year.

As a result, Tony, Carole and I vowed to meet up in 'real life.' At this stage I had finished treatment and was back to work - meanwhile Carole and Tony were still struggling with their cancer treatment. Endless scans, waiting for results, treatment, worries...

In the summer hols last year, I finally got to meet Carole in London. We had the most wonderful day. And it felt like we had been friends forever. We shared stories and had lots of laughs. Our boys became friends, and I came away that day feeling so glad that I had met Carole, so glad to have her friendship, but also so bewildered with the twists and turns of life that lead to these moments in time...

In January this year, I met Carole again - this time with Tony for the first time. It was a magical day where we also got to meet some of Carole's family. We shared chicken and chips and sticky doughnuts. We chatted, laughed and hugged.

After that day in January, Carole soon became very poorly, had to go to hospital, and then finally the hospice - close to her home.

Last night, I heard from Carole's sister, Sarah that Carole had passed away. Peacefully, pain-free and surrounded by the love of her wonderful family. She fought her cancer so bravely and showed such strength and determination. She was a small lady, with the heart of a lion.

Carole helped hundreds of people around the world on the Cancer Research Forum and on her own blog 'What a Pain in the Bum,' which attracted followers from every corner of the globe.

I have lost a very special friend. Along with many others, I will miss her very, very much.


  1. :( I knew Carole pre cancer days from an online forum for parenting, a small group of us like your cancer 5, become close friends she, like in her cancer forum become the one everyone turned to and could always trust she become the voice of reason a true inspiration, as things do life drifted, but our group of friends from the parenting board stayed somewhat in touch, when Carole started her blog we all followd her story and Iam so sadened to hear the news today she really was a wonderful lady and will be remmebered by so any people with such love xx

  2. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. My heart breaks for Carole's family and all her friends, cyber and otherwise. We have lost a very special lady. Rest in peace dearest Carole. Lots of love to you all, 'jadziadax' xx

  3. Lisa, I read this post a couple of weeks ago but was too over whelmed to comment. Thank you again for a beautiful tribute. Loosing my sister is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with but she lives on in so many peoples hearts. Having cancer can make that person do many things like run, hide or share their experience with others. After sharing your experience and getting through your treatment, you stuck around for so many others, and kept in regular touch with the 4 bloggers. What a truly special person you are too. xxx

    1. Oh Sarah :-)
      I just so wish that I could have met Carole and the others in completely different circumstances.
      The thing is - Carole lives on in her lovely family - you, Dj, James, Rab... - and I'm so glad I've got to meet you all so that we can continue the friendship/connection that Carole and I started.
      I'll be sticking around for a good while yet :-)