In January 2015, following a routine check by my vigilant GP, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

As a Brit living in Sydney, Australia since 2008, I realised over the following days just how many of my friends and family were scattered across the globe and different timezones.

The Fellowship of the Ringlets was originally just a tremendous pun and the title of a closed Facebook group I created to keep those distant friends and family in the loop and worry-free.

But over 12 months, my little group somehow grew from 80 to 800+ and became a veritable band of brothers, a support team like no other and a true Fellowship in every sense of the word.

Their love, laughter and rallying cries have been the greatest tonic a little ringlet'd cancer-face like me could have wished for.

The following letters, musings, incoherent ramblings and occasional bouts of bad language are for them all.

Welcome to the Fellowship of the Ringlets.

VC x

Monday 7 December 2015


Dear Fellowship, 

Meet Fishy. David Fish has a lot to answer for. He hired me, probably very much against his better judgement, as a Strategist for a big Aussie radio network when I first arrived in Sydney back in 2008. What he really wanted was someone to do copious amount of research, put together beautiful presentations and help sell some tremendous radio-based media solutions to some cynical agency types. What he got was me. Let’s just say I interview well.
Fishy & me pre-flight!
Working with Fish for 2 years was probably one of the greatest gigs I ever scored. I had no idea what a strategist really did (still don't, to be fair) nor did I possess the remotest inclination to do any actual strategising - instead I spent most of my days scornfully correcting my sales team’s grammar and spelling mistakes or rolling my eyes and sighing heavily every time someone started a presentation with ‘digital is the future’…
But regardless of my being the least strategic so-called strategist in the southern hemisphere, Fishy let me stay and a firm friendship, mostly based on me bending his ear for hours on end and him waiting patiently for me to finish, was born. 
In 2014, Fish was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. In true Fishy fashion, he tackled the whole cancery tale with his legendary sense of calm and unwittingly set me the best example of how to face a cancer diagnosis head-on. 
He finished his treatment plan this year just days after I started mine and is now happily all-clear - I like to think of us as a cancer-fighting relay team, him coming round the bend and passing the cancery baton over to my outstretched hand to power it down the home straight. It’s like the Olympics - just more legal drugs, way less lycra and thankfully, zero running. 
While I learnt how to hand-tie floral bouquets during my months off work, Fishy decided to learn how to fly aerobatics with a view to one day taking part in those mad-arse Red Bull stunt flying competitions. And whilst I was proudly showing off some flowers in a vase this year, he was busy perfecting the art of stalling a plane in mid-air. 
When I returned to Sydney a few weeks ago, Fishy offered to take me up in his little flying machine and demonstrate his new-found stunt flying skills.Never being one to turn down a free scenic flight over Sydney with a fellow cancer survivor, I of course said yes and so yesterday, we flew up the coast, over the Harbour and Opera House and up to Palm Beach where 4,000 feet up, we executed a loop, a roll, a wing over and a stall turn in a tiny 2-seater plane! Gulp. 
Thanks to Fish for the most epic, scenic and brilliantly stomach-churning experience yesterday. The twin sensation of utter exhilaration combined with buttock-clenching terror is hard to beat. I am very glad we managed to re-start the stalled engine as we plummeted towards the ocean or this would have been an awkward ‘what Vix did next’ tear-stained blog that someone would have had to write on my behalf…
Meanwhile here are a few comedy pics and video evidence for you - the genius and tragedy of my new haircut is that there are no upside-down ringlets spinning about for you all to enjoy...shame.


View over the stunning Harbour from the cockpit!

And roll!



In breaking (waters) news, I’ve also just been told that my super-organised sister has gone into labour, just hours into her due date! So in the next few exciting hours, I shall be battling for that 'favourite auntie who sends us nothing but stuffed koalas but she lives in Oz so let’s keep in with her because when we’re 16, we’ll need a foreign bolthole' status once more and we shall have another gorgeous member to add to the clan!! 
Good luck to my beautiful sis Liz Connerty (and my brother-in-law Martin Christie, who is breaking all sorts of speed limits on the roads of Oxfordshire as we speak) and get ready to be introduced very soon to the latest recipient of my much in-demand, baby-whispering cuddles! Wahay!


*update : I have a little niece and Molly has a little sister!! Welcome to Matilda Christie - apparently a touch of red hair as well - an Aussie name AND a ginge, I have this fave aunt shizzle in the bag! (Sorry Magz Connerty)

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