As my first official and unofficial writing on No Stomach for Cancer’s website, let me first give a bit of introduction to myself. I am 22 years old. My mother passed away from gastric cancer at the age of 40– I was 7. Given this personal experience with medicine, and also the fact that my dad is a primary care physician, I’ve always had an interest in the biological sciences and medicine. It was around the time that I was applying for medical schools that I started to investigate my own medical history and decided to get tested for a mutation in CDH1 because of my family history. In December 2010, I found out that I have a CDH1 mutation. The road traveled since has certainly been bumpy with many unexpected detours along the way. The most obvious detour has been the decision to take time off from my master’s degree at Oxford to have my prophylactic total gastrectomy.
If you are reading this, you’ve most likely been touched by stomach cancer or HDGC in some way. You’ll know that the entire experience is sprinkled with both ups and downs. One of the huge ups in my experience so far has been the community that I’ve gained through No Stomach for Cancer. Whether reading the personal blogs or connecting with the stomachless and their families in person, over Facebook, or on blogs, NSFC has really been a crucial part of this experience for me.
Because of the amazing support I’ve gotten from NSFC, I always thought to myself that I would like to help out with NSFC. And thus, the Eat-A-Thon!
It really sort of just happened. I was planning on having my own private Eat-A-Thon prior to surgery, and one day, I thought to myself, why not have some help? I mentioned the idea to a couple of classmates at Oxford, and the Oxford Eat-A-Thon was born.
What: Potluck* and 2-minute challenge**
Why: Fundraiser for No Stomach for Cancer— a £5 suggested donation is appreciated
When: 26 February @ 7PM, 2-minute challenge @ 8PM
Where: St. John’s MCR
*Potluck: This will be a potluck event. Pasta and garlic bread will be provided. Please contribute salads, sides, desserts, and beverages!
For those of you with undying competitive natures, sign up for the 2-minute challenge–
– eat as many biscuits as possible in under 2 minutes without water
– sponsor your favorite competitor!
– the competitor who eats the most biscuits takes home delicious baked goods
In the end, the Eat-A-Thon was a huge success! We estimate that around 40 people were in attendance. We raised over £200, and there was so much food leftover that there was an Eat-A-Thon, part 2 for lunch the following day. My favorite part of the Eat-A-Thon was that it was just a lot of FUN! I love that the Eat-A-Thon brought people together, raising stomach cancer awareness while providing good food and company. I skyped in from Hawaii– enough to say a short hello to everyone, watch the 2-minute challenge and catch up with many of my classmates and housemates.
I really wanted to be able to share how much fun the event was with the rest of the NSFC community, so I put together this short highlights reel from the event.
Something important to remember is that raising stomach cancer awareness and eat-a-thon-ing is an ongoing event! Just because the Oxford Eat-A-Thon has passed, and it’s not yet November Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, doesn’t mean you can’t do some awareness raising of your own! It can be something as small as enjoying a good meal and celebrating stomach cancer-free living.
Personally, my own prophylactic total gastrectomy is now in less than 48 hours. I’m taking a break from my chowing down to write this entry. In the next couple of days and weeks, I am all for eating vicariously–i.e. I would LOVE to hear from you: what are you eating? And if you feel so inclined to contribute to my Eat-A-Thon, please visit my online fundraising page here.