ovarian cancer

There is always a reason to be kind

Just four months after my diagnosis of stage four ovarian cancer I was approved for major surgery. In the weeks that followed I found it hard to regain my usual positive approach to life and so, in a bid to cheer me up, my wee hero (and nephew) Jack organized a charity coffee morning with the help of his mum (my sister) and some of her friends.

img_4479When Jack started to organise this event he wanted half of the money raised to go to ovarian cancer research and half to go to my hubby, Ewan, and I so that we could treat ourselves to something nice to cheer me up during my recovery.

Whilst this was the loveliest offer ever it made me uncomfortable. Just because I have cancer doesn’t mean I am any less fortunate than anyone else. I didn’t want to profit from my diagnosis. So, instead, I found myself thinking about what we could do with the money that would benefit others.

As I mulled this over, I was reading an inspiring book gifted to me by a friend entitled “The Power of Kindness” and it gave me an idea. What if I used the money to do random acts of kindness for complete strangers? Not only would this fill me with happiness because I would get to surprise people and see them smile but it would also remind people that there is good in the world and that, no matter what, there is always something to be grateful for.

And so began my ‘random act of kindness journey’…

I bought some teal envelopes and had some business cards made with the symptoms of ovarian cancer printed on them – I figured why not also spread awareness of this cancer whilst also spreading love and kindness. Then, into each envelope I placed £10 or £20 and one of the ‘awareness’ cards.

img_6529The next step was to start handing them out. I remember so clearly my first ROAK delivery. I was sitting having lunch with my hubby. It was the first time we had properly ventured out of the house following my surgery and I was busy people watching and taking in everything that everyday life has to offer. I started to notice that everyone around us was busy on their phones and not really enjoying the moment. That is, all except two ladies who were sat on a table near us. These ladies were laughing and joking and their positive energy filled the room. I knew then that I wanted to give them my first envelope. So, on our way out I approached their table and placed it between them. I was so nervous but as soon as I was out on the street I squealed with delight. It had been such a happy rush! The best £20 I’d ever spent!

I didn’t expect anything to come of it but the two ladies posted their experience on social media and overnight it was shared over 500 times. The story was picked up by local press and before long I was chatting away with these wonderful souls. It didn’t end there though. As a completely unexpected thank you these amazing women then did a bungee jump for Macmillan in my name, raising over £4000. Inspiring to say the least!

img_6531Since then the ripples of kindness have continued to grow. Every time I had out an envelope I am amazed at the wonderful things that happen as a result. I have made new friends, spoken at events, shared emotional stories with complete strangers, received generous gifts of thanks from local businesses, been on radio shows talking about my journey and had many more people raise money for charities in my name – leading to me be awarded Scotland’s Volunteer fundraiser of the Year last month.


If that wasn’t enough, strangers touched by my story have also started handing out their own random act of kindness envelopes in my name across the UK. Everyone always reports back how wonderful it makes them feel, agreeing with me that joy is found in giving and connecting with others.

Incredibly, people have also been making donations to my RAOK pot and so the original £500 continues to grow and my pile of envelopes never seems to shrink! So, in a bid to share lots of festive cheer, and to finally work my way through my growing pile of envelopes, I have pledged to hand out an envelope everyday from 1st-25th December.

kindnessPeople ask why I do this and the answer is simple. I refuse to let my life become depressing just because I have a late stage cancer diagnosis when instead I could be spending my time making other people happy. In times of great global uncertainty isn’t that the most important thing we can do for society? To be kind to each other.

Love and light, Fi xx


6 thoughts on “There is always a reason to be kind”

  1. Fi – I don’t know you in person but I was just thinking about you the other day as seemed like a wee while since your last update. Continue to be so inspired by your positive approach. I hope your December is wonderful – sure the 25 RAOK will make it so!

  2. My heart is full after reading this. Thank you so much for writing it. It’s exactly what I needed right at this moment.

    Today marks exactly a year where I had my cancer surgery, though not even close to being as extensive as yours. Just a “simple” laparoscopic assisted anterior resection for a stage two rectosigmoid cancerous mass. This morning I went to hospital to have my yearly colonoscopy. My cancer surgeon was the one who did it. He came into the procedure room and wished me a happy assiversary with a big smile on his face. Who knew that life saving surgeons also have a sense of humor? The few weeks leading up to this have been anxious ones,and I have not been living my life to the fullest, much to my dismay. In addition to the colonoscopy, I’ve also had to have a CT scan and an ultrasound. All necessary tests, but tests that can either reassure you OR potentially gut you. You write: “I refuse to let my life become depressing just because I have a late stage cancer diagnosis when instead I could be spending my time making other people happy. In times of great global uncertainty isn’t that the most important thing we can do for society? To be kind to each other.” Yes…All the yeses. Time passes whether we are healthy as horses or facing an uncertain health future. How we choose to spend that time is a direct reflection of our souls. You have chosen light when there are many that would curl up and lament their situation…and I would not judge them for that at all. Your situation is daunting. However, your way is uplifting and positive. Not just for you, but for all the people you’ve touched all across the world. I’m one of those people. You keep me positive, you keep me grounded. You also keep things in perspective for me. There are always people that suffer more than you. It’s best to always stay as grateful as possible…though it’s perfectly acceptable to have a bit of a cry now and again.

    By the way….my colonoscopy was clear and my surgeon was also able to tell me this morning that he had seen my CT scan from last Tuesday and it was all clear. “Unremarkable” is the term they use here in Canada, which I’m sure they use in your country as well. It’s the first time I’ve ever welcomed the term to describe me.


  3. Gail! Firstly congratulations on your results! They are amazing! And happy anniversary too 😉💕
    Secondly thank you so much for your kind words! They are exactly what I needed to hear! It is 5am and I find myself awake and ‘chained to our bathroom’ for the 5th night in a row and I was feeling hopeless. Thank you for reminding me of the reasons to smile. I love that we can support each other xx thank you!

    As a side note…I have my three month post remission check up on Monday! Already! My oncologist doesn’t repeat scan due to the anxiety it causes. I’m so grateful for this as otherwise I think I’d be a mess! Instead I listen to my body and my anger markers are monitored.

    Love and light to you and yours xxx

  4. Anger markers…cancer markers…sometimes the same thing. Fingers crossed for Monday. I like your oncologist’s ability to understand the anxiety that scans cause. I always split my worry between the massive amount of radiation you are exposed to AND whether it will show something awful. I know, not useful at all. When I told my surgeon this, he said he would consider ultrasounds in the future over CT scans as when you are thin they are very, very accurate. Not as perfect as a CT scan, but it does the job.

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