Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust

Fifty rounds of chemotherapy can’t keep a good woman down!

From organising charity football matches to charity balls, ACT supporter Samantha Isaacson doesn’t let her cancer diagnosis get in the way of life, football and ploughing through her impressive bucket list. Oh, and she’s raised more than £23,000 for Addenbrooke’s Oncology Day Unit too…

Friday, October 13, 2017

“What did you do when you were 25 years old? Start your career, buy a house, move out, play sport, go out with friends, travel – basically build or continue your life as an adult? When I was 25 years of age, I was doing exactly that. This was until March 2015 when I was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer that had metastasized to my liver. I was given three years. From then on my life began to have a different focus - the here and now!

I had always had a bucket list that I was working through. However, after receiving this news, I decided to get cracking. You can see my up to date bucket list on my blog at www.iwasntexpectingthat.com.

After hearing that surgery wasn’t an option for me, chemotherapy and immunotherapy started pretty quickly and hospitals became an important and regular part of my life. Everyone I have encountered on the Day Unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital has been welcoming, warm, knowledgeable, caring and even slightly humorous at times! (Humour is my way of dealing with this). I would think that most people in the waiting room, although in the middle of a horrible situation, would have a positive story to tell you about the staff, facilities and care they have received.

Fortunately, I am surrounded by some amazingly supportive family, friends, team mates and colleagues, so when the idea of a charity football match came up in order to raise money, it was a no brainer. It seemed like a really great idea to bring us all together, provide me with a focus, help raise awareness and bring together the footballing community. Alongside these people I created the #KickCancerCup, a football match played at Histon FC between Sam’s XI (friends from my football club) and a league representative team (which involves clubs selecting two players from teams in Fulbourn's league). It is more than just football, however, it’s an evening of entertainment with local dance and music performers featuring too.

The next job was selecting a charity. We knew that we wanted this charity to be local, have an impact right here and now and benefit the people and community involved in the #KickCancerCup; whether it be me personally or family and friends. Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) was the obvious choice and so the Oncology Day Unit within that was the desired destination for our fundraising attempts. Since the initial event, ACT have supported us with promoting it each year and have been able to give us up to date feedback on where the money raised is spent, which I think is vital for all involved.

At the speed of light, which is how I tend to live my life, we went forward and organised the first Kick Cancer Cup in September 2015. We gave ourselves two months to organise it with little or no event organising experience, not much charity knowledge and no expectation or aim other than to pull it off. However, once we put our committed heads together and along with lots of passion and support, we created an event that blew us away with over 500 people attending, fantastic feedback from the night, a showcase of women’s football in Cambridge and to cap it all, we raised an amazing £10,123! A simple idea had turned into what we hoped would be an annual event and a legacy for me to leave behind. Last year we raised another £5,000 and this year’s Histon FC event raised an incredible £6,395! After our Kick Cancer Charity ball this weekend, it's time for a little breather before the planning for #kickcancercup2018 begins!“

Could you organise an event like Sam? It doesn’t have to be a ball or a football match! There are lots of other ways to get involved and help change patients’ lives at Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie. Click here for details.