By James Blears
It`s not possible to win every battle, rather it`s the extraordinary courage of the fight against untimely, ultimately overwhelming odds, which is admirable, magnificent… and so very humbling.
This is the memorable legacy and the profile of grace, beauty and sheer courage which was displayed with radiant smiles and uncomplaining bravery by Hannah Lyson, the daughter of Mark and Beth Lyson. Mark is a coach at Anfield Boxing Club and a world class International Referee.
In 2016 Hannah aged just nineteen was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Rather than withdraw into herself, Hannah sought to find out about this terrible illness which rarely strikes young people, but wasn`t able to discover very much information because scant data was available. So she decided to chronicle her illness via a blog which she entitled: Hannah`s Bowel Cancer Journey.”
It impressed and inspired people the World over. Thousands avidly followed her marvelous narratives and there were hundreds of thousands of hits, which continue to this very day.
From the moment Hannah was diagnosed in 2016, until the day she passed away at just twenty , Hannah only had eight precious, so brief months to share her experiences, with candor, honesty and poignant elegance writing: “It`s unreal how much I want to live. I`m fighting to win.”
Her Father Mark remembers: “When Hannah was diagnosed with bowel/colon cancer in May 2016, it was absolutely devastating for our family. It is a very rare cancer for someone so young and there was very little information she could find. So Hannah set up an online blog.” http://aworthwhileadventure.wordpress.com/
Hannah`s Bowel Cancer Journey is also on a Facebook page. It`s a must read if you admire courage!
Mark continues: “Hannah documented everything good and bad. This was to raise awareness for bowel/colon cancer and to emphasize how important it is to know the symptoms and get checked by a doctor to help understand the process if diagnosed. Hannah did all of this while trying to herself come to terms with having cancer. Hannah spent a lot of time in hospital in Teenage Cancer Trust Unit and she raised thousands of pounds for it. This made us so very proud of her at a very sad time.”
Many people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and Mark stresses that it`s vitally important for anyone who has doubts or suspicions that there`s a more serious underlying condition, to get screened as soon as possible because early diagnosis is so crucial.
When someone so young and so absolutely brimming with promise and potential dies so very young, there an awful lingering, gnawing sense of loss, coupled with lonely longing. What might have been that will never come to pass. Mark described it in terms of: “I don`t feel very religious, but I do feel that a presence which is still there looking down on me…and I just want Hannah to be proud of things I do. I want her to think my Dad`s a good man. So it does inspire me and I want to do good things. It may sound daft but that`s just how I feel.“
And that`s exactly how the Boxing Family also felt. Hannah passed away surrounded by her Family at her bedside on January 28th 2017. That following Saturday at every Boxing show in the UK, there was a Ten Bells Tribute. Mark recalls: “That was amazing for us. It was lovely. Boxing News also did an article. So did Boxing Monthly and The Ring Magazine. It was a very nice Tribute for me, my Wife and the Family to read.
“Hannah always had such a peaceful, wonderful smile. She was so positive all the way through. Me and my Wife knew what was coming. But Hannah was always so upbeat about everything. She and we so hoped she could beat it. She was always positive, right up until the end. Some fights you can`t win. Rather it`s the fight in you…I can`t really express the words. It`s the fighting spirit you show throughout. It`s so very sad for us, but we are so very, very proud of Hannah. Seven years have passed and it`s heartbreaking for us.”
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, the Mother of President John F Kennedy and US Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, once reflected: “It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don`t agree. The wounds remain. Time-the mind protecting its sanity, cover them with some scar tissue and the pain lessons, but it`s never gone.”
Hannah Lyson`s testament to her battle with bowel cancer and her spirit which lives on forever is: A Profile of Courage. For eight months, she fought with everything she possessed, giving her all without complaining whilst giving hope to others, who one day might be walking the same fateful path.
Nelson Mandela once said: “I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”
Napoleon Bonaparte said: “Courage isn`t having the strength to go on. It`s going on when you don`t have the strength. It`s not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of spirit.”
But the final words are Hannah Nicole Lyson`s. She held a special fund raising night and at this point she was very poorly, but determined to see it through to success, saying: “I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say…BECAUSE OF YOU, I DIDN`T GIVE UP.”