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Showing posts from July, 2011

Blocked blogger!

I have tried to write this three times now-hence the delay in my blog post. I think it’s been hard to put down some of the things I have been thinking of this week. What sad times there have been over this period. As well as national news stories I have also had some closer to home. One of my friends from the leadership dialogue has been killed in a road traffic accident. I have found myself very affected by it and moved too. A life cut short feels so wrong and there is no doubt many will miss him. The national news has been relentless too. Losing your child from famine, murder or addiction is not something you should have to experience; it’s not the natural order at all. As an emotional being at the best of times I do find myself easily moved to tears at the moment and this week more than others. But I won’t apologise for that-its allowed I guess. So the other news that has had a huge impact is that one of my friends and has also been diagnosed again with breast cancer. She faces

Reflecting on the impact on families famous and ones like mine!

You could not fail to be moved this weekend hearing the interviews with the winner of the British Open golf, Darren Clarke. He expressed along with his delight, that he had done it for his boys. Visibly fighting tears he was acknowledging the importance to the family of his win following the loss of his wife five years ago to breast cancer. Darren has been a generous supporter of Breakthrough’s work and we are so grateful for that. We understand so well the motivation to ensure other families are spared this pain in the future. Thank you Darren and all those who support you. The poignancy was also reinforced by the knowledge that he had given his support in recent years to Phil Mickelson too (the runner up at the Open) whose wife and mother had both had treatment for breast cancer. Both are surviving thankfully but their own experience has also had its impact on the family. Seeing the dual impact on these families is such a shocking reminder of how common this experience is for so man

FiREBUG Friday!

This finds me in TGIF mode, thankful it’s Friday. Although it was a quieter week I developed a virus in the middle and its left me with a sniff and a wheeze! It’s not the virus that is the biggest problem it’s the fact that my asthma kicks in and disrupts my sleep and well-being. What I know from before is that having treatment for cancer on top of another condition like asthma can really increase your vulnerability. When I had radiotherapy last time I got a cold and ended up needing steroids. The fear of coughing while having a radiotherapy beam aimed perilously close to your heart is quite something. But I am still here so disaster was avoided then. And radiotherapy is undoubtedly a life saver for many forms of cancer. However my trip to the Western Isles reinforced for me the impact of several weeks of radiotherapy can have on someone’s life especially if they are from a remote or rural part of the world-as many parts of Scotland are. The knowledge of that impact can lead to deci

Poetry and truth!

I started this week reflecting on truth and leadership. The importance of that resonated as the news stories emerged over the week about News of the World. Although the mission of that organisation for 168 years apparently had the pursuit of truth at its heart, it had, by its own admission, lost its way. That has to lie at the feet of those who lead it. People follow people, not words in mission statements or strategies-they follow the behaviours and messages (spoken and unspoken) delivered by those at the helm. Strange to think they felt that the pursuit of truth could be through deceitful means. If the demise of this newspaper can lead to greater wisdom then maybe there is hope for better things to come? What was obvious was the power of social media again to create a momentum for change. Through media like Twitter, Facebook and Mumsnet the means and drive for a message to be sent to the newspaper owners was delivered. There is undoubtedly massive opportunity through social media

You take the high road....

What a week this has been. I have been to a beautiful wedding on the banks of Loch Lomond, I have been part of the Windsor Leadership Dialogue in St George’s chapel within the grounds of Windsor Castle, I have spent two days in our London office and now I am back in Edinburgh. And yes you’ve guessed it….. I am truly knackered! Not a very lady like term but frankly exhausted just didn’t cut it. Its been an interesting journey for me. I have realised just how tired I still am and although much better than I was still not quite there yet. The clamour of airports, train and tube travel, hotel rooms just felt too much at times. I think its part of the same impact that stops me watching TV, listening to the radio and to music too much, my brain is just too tired. The reminder I am not just healing physically but mentally too. The screensaver on my phone is the scene of the mountains from our balcony on holiday and I look longingly at it whenever I can. Waiting for my delayed flight yesterd

Its OK to be not OK?

Yesterday was really amazing. In a store near Glasgow I met 38 of Marks and Spencer senior managers who were leaving to do the 5 peaks in 48 hours. Yes you got that right from the top of Scotland to the south of Ireland in two days climbing 5 mountains. And they are doing it still as I write this blog. ( Keep safe guys!) In the stores across the country they are supporting their target of a Million pounds raised for our pioneering research at Breakthrough Breast cancer and The Marie Keating Foundation in Ireland. They set off yesterday with confidence, spirit and maybe a little trepidation but with a real sense that as a strong team they will achieve it. Impressive on so many levels and credit to themselves and their organisation. M&S has been integral part of Breakthrough’s success over many years-thank you for this and for continuing to see the importance of what we achieve for people affected by breast cancer. Do support them by contributing to all the staff activities at stor