My 6 top tips to really help your friend through cancer… don't ask, just DO!

CANCER f**** everything up – your body, your mind, life in general.

There isn't a part of life that isn't affected by the big C, it manages to wind it's way into every nook and cranny.

There's no getting away from it, cancer is sh*t. But that's not to say there aren't some upsides.

While I will never be grateful to cancer, it doesn't mean I can't be grateful for some of the knock-on effects – my friends being one!

I'm very lucky to have a wonderful, crazy mix of friends in my life who have seen me through thick and thin.

I've got friends from all parts of my life – school, college, uni, work, babies and now cancer.

It means I have a support network now that I honestly couldn't live without.

But my relationships have changed, how could they not.

Let's face it friends drift apart after school and uni and collide when babies, house moves and boys happen.

So why would cancer be any different?

It's fair to say almost every relationship I have has changed, some for the better but others for the worst.

I'm forever grateful that my friends don't really know how I feel on a daily basis.

I'm relieved they have no idea how scary it is to think you might not live to see your 40th birthday.


IF you find out your friend has cancer, chances are you're going to want to do something to help.

There's loads of things you can do, here's my top tips to help you navigate it, it's not easy!

1. Remember who they were before they had cancer: They probably still like all the same things as before.

2. Don’t ask just do: Rather than saying “how can I help you”, just drop over food, book some cinema tickets, say I’m taking you down the pub!

3. Pick up the phone: Sometimes picking up the phone, sending a text or a letter saying “I’m thinking of you” is all you need and all they want.

4. You can't cure it: Remember you can’t cure their Cancer, so don’t give them a barrage of “have you tried this, or this, advice”.

5. Change the subject: They probably don’t want to always talk about Cancer – be led by them. You don’t need to provide solutions, just listen.

6. Have fun together: Above all, even in the darkness, find the laughter.

The other day I joked about the massive party I'll throw if I make that milestone, and I could see uncomfortable smiles not knowing how to take my dark humour.

My friends play lots of different roles, but sometimes it is important to recognise the importance that each relationship brings – knowing each one has its place.

Old friends above all help remind me of who I was before cancer.

The old me, the carefree gal who loved exercising, going out and having fun.

I'm still that person underneath it all, but it's your friends that help you remember that.

I'm so lucky to have friends who come to chemo with me, cry and laugh with me, and above all treat me as they always have done.

My mates are my rocks, and I couldn’t be more grateful for each and everyone of them

Just because you've got cancer doesn't mean you stop caring about who your friends are currently dating.

My friends share my cancer journey with me, but I can't expect them to find it all OK.

For some it's too close to home, a horrible reminder of a loved one lost to the disease.

For others it is like watching their biggest fears play out in front of them.


IN the interest of showing that you CAN live with cancer, and in memory of Rach, I ran a half marathon a few weeks ago.

I completed it having run a personal best 5km and 10km.

No one was going to tell me to stop, despite the fact that I was in pain from 15km – I now have a stress fracture and am sporting a sexy boot for the next two months!

I’m going to be starting all over again with this fitness malarkey once I can walk again and am strongly considering taking up cycling.

I’m such a kn*b – who runs 21km 10 days after cyberknife treatment? But lesson learned, kind of.

And while I can't actually stand up without crutches, I will be standing up to cancer tonight.

Catch Lauren and I on Stand up To Cancer – Channel 4 from 7pm TONIGHT – where Adam hill will be grilling us – all in aid of raising vital funds for research into cancer.

Some find it all too much and yes, they struggle to pick up the phone.

But, it's OK. Cancer doesn't only affect the person who has it, it ripples far beyond the tumour.

How would I feel if the shoe was on the other foot?

And it goes back to the point that friends all play different roles.

I've been so lucky to form a whole host of new friendships, mainly people I first met online.

They're my cancer pals.

We've bonded over poo chat, laughed at the bizarre side effects of treatment, and been in awe of the fact we all respond within seconds to a message at 3am, when you're wide awake and scared.

They've become my cheering squad, and I'm proud to be a part of theirs.

We worry about one another, and celebrate or commiserate every step of the way.

My life changed when I met my cancer besties Rachael Bland and Lauren Mahon, two years ago.

We bonded over wanting to share our cancer stories, and we created the now award-winning You, Me And The Big C podcast.

Rachael died last month at the age of 40, two years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Heartbroken doesn't cut it, it doesn't even come close.

I'm devastated she's gone, I'm lost without her. And it hurts to know that she didn't live to see her idea win best new show at the AIRAS (the radio Oscars) last week.

I often have to pinch myself a bit over what CAN happen when you're living with cancer.

Meeting Rachael and Lauren is one of the pinch-me moments.

And as I mourn the loss of another friend to this horrible disease, it does remind me of my reality.

I'm left wondering how it can be right that a 37-year-old has to go to more funerals than weddings or christenings now?

But, it's better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, right?

My mates are my rocks, and I couldn't be more grateful for each and everyone of them.

I hope it's the same for you too!

We should all remember to say thank you a little bit more often.

My new book F*** You Cancer is available to buy now – and gives a brutally honest view of what cancer is really like – buy it here now

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