“The Greatness of a Community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members” – Coretta Scott King – American civil rights activist & author
This powerful quote perfectly encapsulates 98% of British society today. Doctors, nurses, delivery drivers, and other essential workers are leading Great Britain in their compassion and sacrifice. The majority of the rest of us are playing our lesser part, by staying at home, living through restrictions and financial difficulties to overcome COVID-19’s challenge to our way of life.
Yet in the face of a virus-like this, a society is only as strong as its weakest link, only as great as its least compassionate members. I really didn’t want to have to write this out, but I feel it’s necessary to highlight the abhorrent behaviour of a few. A few, whose current actions will lessen the chance of survival for the most at-risk members of society, like me and my fellow cancer sufferers.
We all love the sun on our skin and the wind in our hair, and this weekend’s weather would have marked the peak of Spring in any other year. But this year I cannot excuse, and struggle to forgive, those around London who disregarded the government’s instructions and flooded into London’s parks. These people’s actions will inevitably have spread the virus further and faster, and Intensive Care Units will be more full in a week’s time because of their selfish actions.
Social distancing has saved lives and will save many more over the coming months. If ‘these people’ happen to be reading this: I ask you directly, can you choose to sunbathe over the lives of others? Look at the older members of your own family or those with an illness, and can you risk their lives for a few hours’ outdoor entertainment. How would they feel, if they knew you were doing this? Perhaps, my own story can help you on the way to compassion; I want to be the voice for the voiceless:
In January 2012, I was diagnosed with advanced metastatic prostate cancer with a presenting PSA of over 500ng/ml. I was given six months to live.
March 2012, admitted onto the Cancer Research UK funded Stampede Drug Trials Program.
I currently, take medication every day to keep my disease from coming back and after eight years I’ve managed to remain alive and reasonably well, though with some heavy side-effects. Many cancer patients take daily medicines that prolong life but suppress their immune system, making them even more susceptible to COVID-19. For all cancer survivors and you must know several, this new virus is a matter of life or death.
I, like many others, have had to fight to regain health, strength and mental stability after my initial diagnosis, as have our families who have all marched each step with us. I love and cherish my family, especially my beautiful grandchildren. I want to be a part of their lives, spend more quality time with them, and enjoy watching them grow up.
So I ask you: look to your own hearts, your own desires, how you would like to live in your 60s. What does your family, and its eldest members, mean to you?
More than ever before, your actions can spread love and community, or they can spread a virus. Our community – local, national, and global – is going through very trying times.
All are asked, and expected, to make some sacrifices for those that mean most to them, and for people, they’ve never met. United we will beat COVID-19 and continue to live beyond this pandemic until the good Lord calls each and every one of us home. Follow the science and follow the community. Please think through, and feel through, your actions, before you put more lives at risk.
About the Author
Alfred Samuels is aged 61, born in the United Kingdom of Jamaican descent and is educated to a Masters Degree level in The Study of Security Management. Just over seven-and-a-half-years, ago a diagnosis of advanced metastatic prostate cancer stage 4 was handed down to him unexpectedly, untimely and unwontedly. Alfred has written two books, Invincibility in the Face of Prostate Cancer: Coming out the Other Side, and Motivated to Inspire, with the intention to inspire, motivate, uplift and educate people about prostate cancer. In July 2019 Alfred was named Ambassador of the Year at the Cancer Research UK Flame of Hope awards which pay tribute to the extraordinary achievements of volunteers across the UK. Alfred was recently interviewed by The Conference Forum.
Photo by Yingchou Han on Unsplash