When BBC news presenter Rachael Bland announced earlier this week that she had only days left to live, the thousands of messages she was sent eloquently demonstrated exactly how this brave woman’s journey in dealing with incurable cancer has touched so many lives.
The 40-year-old Radio 5 Live newsreader and mother of a young son was diagnosed with primary triple-negative breast cancer in November 2016 and had been documenting her experiences on a blog and podcast. Among those to get in touch on Twitter was one man who explained exactly how important her contribution has been to fellow cancer sufferers and their families. “Your show is one of few positive things my wife’s terminal diagnoses has had,” he wrote. “You’re similar ages... she’s a little luckier as she has been given months not days, but thank you for helping lift her spirits now and then, priceless. Sending you gratitude, love and best wishes.”
Rachael passed away in the early hours of this morning surrounded by her close family. Their lives will be changed forever but as her husband Steve so correctly noted, they can draw much comfort and pride from her inspirational work to reduce the stigma around cancer and prove that it is possible to live life to the fullest even in such challenging circumstances.
As her 5 Live colleague Pat Murphy movingly put it in a message to Rachael: “So many qualities define the best of the human spirit: kindness, the gift of friendship, honesty, humour, love of family, indomitable bravery for starters. You have embodied them by the bucketload, and more. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”