For When I Am Sleeping: Lecturer’s poignant cancer diary

Dr Tim Richardson
Dr Tim Richardson
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WHEN university lecturer Tim Richardson was first told he had cancer he began writing a diary in order to help others struggling to come to terms with the diagnosis and set up a charity to raise funds.

His diary, For When I am Sleeping, takes the reader from the moment the Sheffield University academic discovered he had terminal illness through to his final months before he passed away last year.

It has now been published to help raise funds for the charity which Dr Richardson set up to support those helping cancer patients.

The charity Inspiration for Life has also staged a 24 hour charity lecture marathon at the university yesterday in his memory - something Dr Richardson had done himself before his illness.

Inspiration for Life’s chairman of trustees, Catherine Annabel said: “Tim’s diary is both heart-breaking and inspiring – with his characteristic humour, generosity and honesty, Tim shares with us his moments of despair, of hope, and of new insight into what life is really all about. Tim did his own 24 hour lecture marathon single-handed, in November 2011, in aid of Children in Need, and we’re paying tribute to that achievement, as well as to his tremendous legacy of inspiring teaching, for which generations of undergraduates are deeply grateful.”

In the foreword to his diary she wrote: “Most of us, if we were told that we most probably have cancer, would be inclined to curl up in a ball of self-pity. When this happened to Tim Richardson, reader in physics at the University of Sheffield, he immediately started to think what he could do to help other people, to bring something good out of his nightmare.

“This diary takes his story from that first bombshell through to the end of the cycle of treatment, and the news that his cancer had continued to grow.

“Unflinchingly honest, full of humour and generosity, For When I’m Sleeping charts the process from initial diagnosis and confirmation of terminal cancer, through chemotherapy and its side-effects.”

She added: “Tim’s story will break your heart. But it will also inspire you. In Tim’s own words, ‘I hope that in reading about one person’s fight, that the amazing gift of life is even more special to you than ever you thought before’.”

Dr Richardson was diagnosed with bowel cancer in the summer of 2012 and his fight against the illness ended in February 2013.

Inspiration for Life supports the work of Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, in Sheffield, Rotherham Hospice and Impact Young Heroes.