Bloodwise Ambassador Katie Ruane
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Guilt. Anger. Needing Forgiveness

Bloodwise Ambassador Katie Ruane
Posted by
14 May 2014

It’s funny when you say someone has died.  But.  In fact it’s anything but funny.  It’s tragic and awful but not for the person that has died.  They have gone to that blissful place we know nothing about and that is scary.  We do not embrace and accept death in this country as some nations and religions do. It’s a daunting thing that we don’t acknowledge but the only thing in life, and it’s the one certainty in life regardless of what else happens, that we will die.  There is no escape.  Some people live for a day and some live for 100 years.  There is no rhyme or reason why.  It just is.

So today another death.  Of a truly remarkable 19 year old who I met last October and shared a stage with. We both talked about our stories but you couldn’t get much different.  Today his story ended and mine continues.  And the whole nation knows about him.  And only a few know about me.


Why me.

It’s not fair.

Why am I alive.

Why am I allowed to whinge.

What have I got to complain about.

Where is my recognition.

So much.  Everything.  Nothing.

What about the rest of us?  Those that slipped away with only those around them knowing.  Those of us who carry on every day but with a silent burden.

I’m listening to the playlist I made when I did the London Marathon in 2012 for the Teenage Cancer Trust of course.  Who else?  A charity I love so much, feel so possessive about, that does so much and that I was denied treatment with because there wasn’t a unit in Edinburgh in 2007.  There is now.  A small charity no one really knew about, and now...  I know I wrote about this last time, it’s all still so raw.  Why does one person get catapulted into ‘stardom’? Because they are going to die.  Imminently at 19.  I was on my gap year at this point I was away in Australia or Thailand being 19, not dying, not taking my last breath.  And yet…what about me?

So selfish.

There is so much in my head but I don’t know how to get it out.  How can I when I sound like an enampathietic and selfish person?  I can’t begin to imagine how Stephen’s family feel today.  I have no concept of what it is like to lose a child, a sibling… I don’t know if he had brothers or sisters.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to say goodbye to Claudia or Milo.  I can’t.

I feel exhausted.  I am exhausted. And confused, well conflicted, and because of that feel like a bad person who cannot simply rejoice in what Stephen accomplished and it how full his life was, especially in the last four years since his diagnosis.  I feel angry.  Angry at myself.  Angry at my diagnosis.  Angry that I didn’t have TCT when I was diagnosed.  Angry that I still have to take these drugs which dictate my life.  Angry that my life is not fully mine.  Angry at consultants and angry because I am not recognised at a national level which is, I know, completely  stupid.

I know I need to do a lot of self-work, I just need to get through these next 8 weeks and finish my degree and get all my work done.  Then I can give myself the space to acknowledge and process and heal and forgive.  Because I have to.  I can’t carry on feeling like this.

Maybe that’s why I met Stephen, why he came into my life.  To teach me that I still have so much to do to help me and I need to. Maybe once I have forgiven and let go of all the anger I can finally fully heal.

I don’t know. 

All I can do is hope…



Hi Katie,

Thanks so much for writing this. I've been meaning to reply for a while as I think some of the points and feelings you raise are very interesting (even though I'm not sure I agree with all of them!)

Living with blood cancer is hard as you know. Furthermore it's confusing and you definitely get thoughts that you know you probably shouldn't be feeling. There's no shame in this at all in my opinion and you recognise that they are irrational in the case of Stephen's story. What he has done is fantastic and he is a wonderful example and inspiration to us all. His courage in face of the greatest adversity of all is something that we can all learn from.

You already do so much to raise awareness of blood cancer and you shouldn't be too hard or down on yourself EVER. It's not your fault that you have blood cancer but then it's no one's fault. I don't know why you and I were dealt the cards we were and I don't know what your views on life are but I think that certain challenges are put in front of this that are beyond our control which can't be explained and aren't necessarily fair. However, we always have a choice and your choice is how you deal with it.

When I was diagnosed, I was determined not to let it get me down. Even if it beat me, ultimately it was never going to take my soul with it - that was my focus and it really helped me. I ultimately thought that I'd rather be positive and enjoy life rather than worry and feel resentful and low which wouldn't help the situation.

I hope this helps.



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