Today yet another much-loved figure, comedian Victoria Wood, died after a battle with cancer.
Other notable names taken by this awful disease in just the first four months of 2016 include Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Sir Terry Wogan, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Lemmy from Motorhead. (Others who sadly died but of different, equally horrible illnesses include Ronnie Corbett and Paul Daniels, compacting the pain).
Considering our average life expectancy is generally going up, many of these figures were not particularly old. Alan Rickman and David Bowie were both 69 and both still seemed to be excelling in their respective careers. Victoria Wood was just 62.
That’s why the public was so particularly shocked- cancer can sneak up on anyone, at any time, and it is terrifying.
Admittedly with the gradual growth of celebrity culture over the past few decades it is logical that more are now beginning to reach old age and subsequently pass away. The celebrities we began following in recent generations cannot live forever.
But that doesn’t mean the way in which these celebrated figures are dying is something to dismiss. (Nor should an outpouring of grief be suppressed).
Yet of course it is not only celebrities suffering during this war with cancer and they only represent the tip of the iceberg. Scale that up for the rest of the population and it is a truly horrible thought- the amount of families broken apart in these four months alone.
In fact just hours before the news broke about Victoria Wood, I heard that a respected councillor on my patch at work had sadly passed away from acute myelogenous leukemia. Speaking to his colleagues, it was hard to come to terms with the thought he had been canvassing at doorsteps and taking part in a full council meeting less than a week before.
I urge everyone to donate to Cancer Research UK. Run a Race for Life. Or just keep talking about it. We can’t just let cancer into our collective lives without a fight.