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Fast forward to today. Brian is now 4 years
clear of cancer, Alison's letters continue, even if less
frequently, and the once acquaintances are now
best of friends. The letters encouraged Alison to
leave her job in the City and instead pursue an MA
in Creative Writing, write a novel and have short
stories published. Brian began a health and wellbe-
ing blog aimed at men over 50.
After having their letter story recorded for
the BBC, the pair were inspired to start a national
campaign, From Me to You, which encourages peo-
ple to write letters to friends suffering from cancer
keeping them connected at a time when they feel
most disconnected.
From Me to You runs letter writing work-
shops, they speak at events and the website hosts
writing tips on what to say and how to say it, also
sharing many inspirational stories from those who
have received and sent letters. Such has been the
response to their campaign that they have now
started a project - Donate A Letter - which allows
people to write anonymous letters to cancer pa-
tients which From Me to You then distribute.
To get involved, contact them at
Listen to Brian Greenley here.
i
nnAte
resilience
-
livinG
with
cAncer
,
peAcefully
Four different dentists couldn't find the
cause of my mysterious and painful toothache, so
it made sense that the metastatic cancer had found
a home in my brain. In the seven years I've had
cancer, I've never had a scan of my head, and since
many friends with breast cancer have had it spread
to their brain, I went to the emergency room for a
scan.
The deafening noise of the hour-long MRI,
coupled with the threat of more cancer, did not
stop me from feeling clear, peaceful and calm. Al-
though I was in physical pain, my well-being was
intact because I no longer had the added emotion-
al suffering that I used to live with.
My past experience of cancer was riddled
with fear about my future. What helped me become
more powerful and confident in the face of cancer
was understanding the way the human mind works.
I learned that our experience of life comes from
thought. Understanding that we can only ever ex-
perience our personal thinking, not the circum-
stance, changed my experience of life. The way we
feel is not caused by our diagnosis, or the fact that
we may die and have to leave our loved ones be-
hind. The way we feel is not caused by any external
circumstances.
When we feel bad, our thoughts are making
us feel bad. But, don't worry about changing them
because that causes more suffering and, a fearful
thought, on its own, is benign. If you do not engage
the scary thought or try to fix it, it will fizzle away
and die like a fire without fuel.