My mum likes to message me with ideas of things I should write about for my blog. She’s a positive person like I am and I like to think that we look at the world in a similar way. So far, some of her ideas have got me in contact with some amazing organisations and people, others I have written down for future use and some I’ve decided are not for me to write about.
This weekend she reminded me of something that she had done a while ago and it is something that I couldn’t not write about. Not only is it one of the things I am most proud of my mum for doing, but it is also something that I think is truly an incredible idea.
My mum is the proud sponsor of bell 142, an end of treatment bell that is now at a cancer treatment centre in Wales. My mum sponsored the bell on behalf of her parents. My grandma had battled MS for years before she died and my grandad was her carer. When my grandad died suddenly and unexpectedly, it was a shock for us all, but my mum doing this was something that was a light in a dark time. For her, I think it was a cathartic thing to do that ensured that the memory of her parents would live on in a positive way, but on a wider scale these bells have such an incredible impact and meaning.
An End of Treatment Bell signifies the end of an incredibly difficult battle, one I feel lucky not to have experienced myself but I know many people who have. I’ve had friends my own age, people I’ve looked up to and admired, older relatives and heard of children the same age as the ones I used to teach undergo treatment for chronic illnesses such as cancer. Sometimes it’s scary to stop and think of how many people these things can affect, how many people from a range of different backgrounds can be diagnosed, how in one instant life as you know it is never quite the same.
In all of this, the End of Treatment Bell is a sign of hope. It is a symbol that however tough the road is, there is an end goal. It’s no wonder that the image on an End of Treatment Bell’s plaque is a rainbow – keep going and you will reach the end of it.
Treatment Bells are rang when treatment is finished. Families, friends, doctors and nurses are present at these moments. Photographs and videos are taken and shared online. You can watch the videos and feel the love in the air, the pure joy and ecstasy that surrounds these survivors the moment that they ring that bell loudly for all to hear. It’s beautiful. These moments are treat like a ceremony because that is what they are. They mark a person’s passage through an incredibly difficult time in their life. They are symbolic of a line that has been crossed, a goal achieved. The bell is ringing, the treatment is done, you’ve reached the end of the rainbow.
For some, ringing the End of Treatment Bell doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s it. Some people might end up back there again, looking at the bell and aiming towards ringing it for a second time. Some people might never get to ring the bell at all.
But so, so many do. So many get that moment that makes you well up and marvel at their strength, courage and bravery. So many get to ring the bell and say ‘I did it, I overcame that’. I’ve seen videos of people ringing the bell on the day of their last treatment, people coming back five years later and ringing it again to mark their anniversary and people ringing it with their families holding their hand and cheering them on. Each time a bell is rung, it is a moment of pure beauty. It’s a moment of humanity and strength. It’s a sight to behold.
Anyone can sponsor one of these bells. You can be the person that makes it so sick children, teenagers, adults and pensioners have that visible goal to work towards. So often when we think of chronic illnesses we only see the sadness, the pain and the injustice, but End of Treatments Bells are the rainbow on a grey day. They provide a goal to work towards. They are the epitome of uplifting, the symbol of hope, the rainbow you can only see when it rains. They signify a moment of pure euphoria, one that can only be achieved when they are placed in the environment they are needed in because someone decided to sponsor one. Someone who believes in the strength of others being celebrated, who believes in goodness, who believes in hope. Could you be that someone?
For more information on end of treatment bells, follow this link : https://endoftreatmentbells.com