Interested in our courses?
Use the search box below to find your course.
“Vision without action is merely a dream, vision with action can change lives or even the world.”
There are some people who have clear visions of their futures, like some of you who have chosen to sign up to OSC distance learning. You have researched and chosen a specific course because you want to move into a specific career; this is inspiring. But then there are people like me – I left school without a vision of what I wanted to do or which career path I wanted to take. Throughout my life I moved through various job roles, and it wasn’t until I experienced life-changing circumstances that allowed me to see what it was that I wanted to do.
I was an average-class working mother with three children, living in Birmingham in an ex-council estate. We had two cars on the drive and was fortunate enough to be able to holiday to Europe each year; it was an ordinary but happy life. We lived to our means, but life was great and just getting comfortable.
Then in 2007, our lives changed forever. A week before his 7th birthday, my son, Harry, was diagnosed with cancer; an inoperable brain tumour in the centre of his brain. Radiotherapy wasn’t an option due to his age, either, and so chemo was the only option of treatment.
I gave up my career become Harry’s full-time carer. It wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t hesitate as I knew it was best for my son. As a mom it was very hard to watch, and I felt so helpless as I couldn’t fix him or patch him up like a parent should. All I could do was be by his side, which didn’t seem enough. But Harry was my inspiration throughout it all. He was so optimistic and never wallowed in his illness, even when we were told the tumour was still growing and the chemo had to be stopped.
When Harry became a little older, we were keen to try all possible options and so he began radiotherapy. Little did I know that this would be a key change in my life. It wasn’t until Harry met Robert Harley, a 55-year-old businessman and fellow cancer patient, that I saw the true spirit of my son: Robert was losing his battle to the same illness that Harry had. Reluctant to let him go, Harry turned to me and said “mom, if I was that poorly, you wouldn’t want people to not visit me because of how they’d feel? This is about Robert and I have to visit.” So young, yet so wise. Maybe the illness had made him more mature than his young years?
He was very quiet on the way home in the car until he finally piped up and said “mom, I have to help get Robert and people like me better. Not enough is being done and I really have to help and raise money for research.” Always encouraging my kids to follow their dreams I replied, “well, have a think of what you want to do and do it, Harry”. Never did I imagine that what Harry was about to embark on would achieve so much.
Help Harry Help Others has had a large impact on the lives of cancer sufferers and their families but has had just as big of an effect on myself. Harry had an amazing outlook on life and rather than focus on the negatives in his life like being ill or the things his illness prevented him from doing, he focused on the positives of what he could do and didn’t let go of his goals, vision and dreams. Hard work and determination were key and that was all that he needed to make his vision a reality. His saying “believe in yourself and make it happen” and “I’m putting the CAN into cancer” will live with me always.
Harry gave me the strength, reality check and self-belief to continue with his work. His journey with cancer and the impact it had on our family gave me the vision of how Harry’s work could continue, hence why I became founder and CEO of the Help Harry Help Others charity.
Harry should have celebrated his 18th birthday this year. I never got to see him grow up. I don’t know what he would look like now or sound like with a manly voice. Would he have gone to university? These questions I can’t answer. But what I do know is that he achieved great things and would want me to continue the hard work and live out my own dreams. So instead of cake and parties, I honour him with charity events and fulfilling his legacy. It’s all I can do for him now but I know it would make him happy. But simultaneously, it makes me happy.
This is the point to my writing. It’s great to have a vision and path that you want to follow. Keep that vision and do everything you can to make it happen. But if you don’t, that’s okay, too. Life can often throw us curveballs that we could never predict, but these curveballs may present opportunities in different ways.
Never give up and always believe. Harry “made it happen”… and we all can too.
You can find out more about the Help Harry Help Others story and how you can help on the website.
Use the search box below to find your course.