This is in memory of Vicky Lesley Jackson, my wife and (with family) the most important person in my life, a smoker who died a few weeks ago from non-smoking related cancer. It’s to highlight some of the things that pissed Vicky off about social reactions to her cancer.
Vicky did not want to be defined by her cancer. She was, until her very last breath, way more than a disease.
The Vicky Manifesto in bullet points - word bites.
The cruel representatives of cancer charities should not bully, berate or try to emotionally blackmail cancer sufferers - or those grieving a cancer victim - into doing their will.
Cancer charities shouldn’t target and ‘chase’ newly diagnosed cancer victims or their families.
Let’s stop (or slow) the cookie-driven stalking of cancer sufferers via cancer industry banner ads. It often made Vicky’s online life unbearable.
Behave on social media, think, don’t be callous – even unintentionally. (Using as an example the obscenity of the ‘no make-up selfie’ and shocking insensitivity.)
Don’t tut disapproval, shake your head at or question an acquaintance who is smoking and has cancer. Or be sure to do the same to people taking similar risks by drinking alcohol, eating processed meat, overweight people eating unhealthily and tell everybody to keep away from polluting roads.
Don’t assume to know anything about someone’s cancer. Listen to them.
Think twice about using universal terms like ‘brave’, ‘battle’, ‘fight’. Sometimes the victim knows it’s bad luck, physiology and genetic murder that they cannot affect.
Employers, don’t risk shortening your early-onset cancer employees’ lives. Give your employee support and empathy. Stress is a big factor in cancer progression and Vicky felt completely unsupported at work and was placed under huge stress.
Intro - Going On Holiday For Charity
For many years me and Vicky laughed and tutted at the ‘I’m going to surf the Barrier Reef’ or ‘walk the foothills of the Himalayas for charity’ campaigns. ‘All I need is to raise £3,000 to pay for it.’ Vicky felt guilty wasting her own money travelling to Edinburgh to do the MoonWalk.
So, in Vicky’s honour, my huge charity effort for will involve me doing jack-shit. I'm going nowhere, doing nothing any different from any other day. I will simply smoke the same amount of cigarettes, in the same places and at the same times. It’s gonna be hard, so please sponsor my exceptional effort.
NB: Kids, I’m not advocating smoking as a lifestyle choice. It’s extremely un-healthy and should be avoided. It’s also addictive and you’ll waste more money than you can imagine.
NB 2: I’m not pointing fingers, I’m sure we’ve all done some of the following. Don’t feel angry or ashamed, just change if you get it.
Many good souls do positive things for charity but then there are the grey areas and the downright obscene….
The Cruel Cancer Charities and Being Chased by Morally Sick
Women in Pink Bras.