Pay It Forward

It can be hard to think of the future or what you can do for others when you have Metastatic Cancer of any form.  Certainly when you are first diagnosed you seem to get caught up in a vortex of emotions – despair and determination, anger alongside relief that there is actually a reason you feel so awful all the time; oh gosh there are so many but gradually I have come to value each day.  After all that is why it is called the Present.

Whilst I have come to value my life more than I did before, I have also come to appreciate even more that I am just one insignificant person, whilst realising that I can still make a contribution to society as a whole.  We may remember all the Big Moments, like the 2012 London Olympics or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee but they are exceptional events and it is every day life that really matters.

I have just noticed that Thursday 25 April 2013 is officially Pay It Forward Day (according to my facebook events).  When you have cancer which is considered to be incurable this may seem like an oxymoron but it SO is not!  Each day we can contribute something, even if it is something that no one else will notice; even if it is just enjoying yourself and sending some happiness vibes out into the world.  However Paying It Forward is something more than just happy vibes, it is taking the opportunity to do something for others.  I came across this just a couple of days ago – and this is just one example of how something so simple can really make a difference to others.  A cup of coffee may make someone’s day and make them feel as though they are a part of society when most of the time they may feel marginalised.

Another story I have come across, and which may be apocryphal, is a man in a fast food outlet who heard some soldiers behind him in the queue discussing what they could get with the money that they had and one of them only had a couple of dollars.  The man paid the cashier $50 to cover whatever they wanted and told the cashier that if more money was needed he would be sitting just over there and he would pay later, but the cashier was not to tell the soldiers who had paid.  The soldiers came up to order and were amazed to find they could have anything they wanted as it had already been paid for, but they couldn’t get the person serving them to tell them who had paid so that they could thank them.  They took their food and before leaving they saluted the restaurant and left.  The cashier then gave the donor his change, not that he cared about that because he had the satisfaction of doing something for someone who serves society every day.

The world did not stop because I was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer 5 years and 2 months ago; in fact the world didn’t wobble an inch, although I was dealing with a Tsunami of thoughts and emotions, doubts and fears.  It took time to see that the greatest gift of life is not time but the meaning of life.  For each of us this is different and today is Good Friday when we remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.  Whether you are a believer or not just spend a bit of time today to contemplate how He Paid It Forward and think about how we can all do the same.  We may not have to die for the sins of the world, but we can do something to mitigate the sins of the world by doing something for others, and it doesn’t have to cost you a lot and it may not cost you anything but the value to others may be immense.



  1. A beautiful piece indeed! Thank your for sharing your insight! Thank you for reminding me that it is not so much the time we have here on Earth but what we should appreciate and be grateful for is life! We should not waste a second of it!

  2. Wonderful article. I really believe in paying it forward as well. Never be afraid to do something that will brighten someone else’s day.

  3. Such a wonderful piece from a wonderful person. I love this article. Made me feel like I need to get going on living this way more then worrying about myself all the time. I feel blessed to know you. Happy Easter! xoxo

    • I was thinking of getting in touch with Costa Coffee here in the UK and find out if they could set up some way people could donate the loyalty card points. Suspended coffee is an amazingly simple and wonderful idea and I have often wished that it would be possible to do something like that in a lot of places that serve food and beverages. I am reluctant to give the homeless money in case they use it for alcohol or drugs, but I would love to be able to give food and hot drinks.

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