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In 2016, not long after my well received British Library talk, I was diagnosed with late stage cancer.

Bernard Rhodes 2022

My initial thought they had mixed me up with another person! The consultant sternly warned if not operated on I’ll have 3 months to live! It was total shock….Why specifically 3 months I questioned trying to get a grip of the situation. Apparently, it had spread dangerously far throughout my body, I was stage 4 metastatic. Since that day I’ve had numerous operations to my stomach, liver & lungs, some very upsetting & lengthy. I’ve endured blood transfusions, years of chemotherapy, scans, blood tests all causing much anxiety. It’s mind boggling & freaky. During this nightmare I met many medical people, a few were terrific others terrible.

I’ve experienced grown men, big tough guys, crying in fear before/after being operated on;not out of pain but a lack of identity as you cease existence as a person; you become a Cancer patient. Most drugs prescribed make us passive and demeaned. Some cause body shrinking and weight loss, others harm hair, appetite, taste & smell. People lose their dignity & self-confidence. I certainly don’t want to be treated as such…….Hence a CANCERCLASH

Although plenty of medical guidance is available plus some for faith; there’s no cultural aspect to the process or understanding & concern that its lacking. So, with the knowledge gained I’ve devised a program to share with other creative people, their families & friends providing a parallel path towards dealing with this unwanted intrusion into our lives. I believe cultural interaction is vital,together with good food & regular exercise. My theory is simple, when diagnosed with cancer it must not dominate our minds, then hopefully it will not completely destroy our bodies. Personally, I found consolation through culture. The outcome being I’m still here & looking good! Many are alarmed about the environment which is not fully in our control. However, few are aware of this equally important need, seeing 1 in every 3 of us will be diagnosed with cancer. That’s why…..

You're invited to join us in achieving this, with your stories, music, art, poetry, photos, short films etc....                   action@cancerclash.com

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