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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

The Cancer Card

by Abi Smith

Just 24 when she was diagnosed with a high-grade glioma in June 2019. Abi has retained a positive outlook which led to her setting up her business, The Cancer Card.

When someone finds out I have a brain tumour, most people react in the same way. They cock their heads to the side, give me a sympathetic look and say “I am so sorry to hear that”. My response is always: “Don't be sorry, I am doing great!” For some people it is confusing that I am so positive given my diagnosis but, the truth is, I have never let myself feel hard done by or defeated, as that would be admitting I had already lost the battle. So, since getting diagnosed with an incurable high-grade glioma in 2019, I have vowed to stay positive and fight this vile disease.

In the first few months after my diagnosis, I must admit, there were moments when my positivity wavered as the fatigue from radiotherapy took hold. But, one thing that never failed to boost my mood was an uplifting card from my lovely family and friends. This was my light bulb moment. I thought how great it would be to design cards specifically aimed at brightening up a cancer patient's day and help spread some positivity.

So, in February 2020, I decided to set up The Cancer Card. From “bald is beautiful”, to “kicking cancer's a**”, I started designing a whole range of cards to help fellow warriors continue their fight. Not only this, but I wanted to help support vitally underfunded brain tumour research, which is why I decided to donate one third of all card sales to Brain Tumour Research.

Two years later and my cards, as well as fundraising events led by family and friends, have raised more than £16,000 for Brain Tumour Research. I have also started selling a range of standard cards for birthdays, anniversaries, etc, that have helped boost the fundraising pot even more!

Setting up The Cancer Card was also not a totally selfless act. It gave me a focus. After starting treatment, I had to give up my job in PR, so had a lot of time on my hands. Designing cards for such a great cause brought me so much happiness and hope and it still does to this day. In particular, I love hearing from customers who have sent one of my cards to a loved one battling cancer. One story that will always stay with me, is a woman who bought a “kicking cancer's a**” card for her best friend with breast cancer. The lady had been struggling with the side effects of chemotherapy and was feeling, understandably, down. But, after she opened her card, she instantly laughed and felt that little bit better. She kept the card by her bed so it was the first thing she saw when she woke up and a reminder that she was doing amazingly. It is because of feedback like this that I continue to make my cards.

All I ever wanted from this venture was to help brighten at least one person's day. Plus, raise money for research that in years to come will find a cure for this disease and make a diagnosis like mine, much less daunting.

Since setting up The Cancer Card, I have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity from all the lovely people who have bought a card and I would just like to take this opportunity to say, I cannot thank them enough.

You can check out The Cancer Card on Instagram: @cancer_card

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