Yes, this is an Arsenal-related blog. When you think "'C' Word" you would probably assume I'm talking about Robin Van Persie or Ashley Cole.
But I'm talking about Cancer.
Whether it's the person that has the disease or the friends and family that are close to them, Cancer affects so many. My Mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October 2011 - I grew up as part of a very close-knit family, so as you would expect we were all shocked beyond belief. But we also initially thought it was one of the 'best' kind of cancers around.
How wrong we were. It later emerged that my mother had Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), a particularly rare form of the disease, and as such, one that's more difficult to treat.
We never got that 'all-clear' from the doctor following extensive chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. I do remember going through the eye-of-the-storm, where things briefly returned to what we thought was 'normal', but when the call came from the doctor in October last year (12 months after being originally diagnosed) that her cancer had spread, the prognosis was grim. Being Triple Negative, Mum was given 6-12 months to live. She barely lasted 4, and on February 15th, the day in-between Valentines day and my Dad's birthday, she went to a better place.
When I decided to go traveling, it wasn't so I could go and mooch other people's sofas and spend the majority of my time abroad shouting at numerous televisions, it was simply so that I could fulfil a lifelong wish to see more of this amazing planet, to get away from it all. I couldn't think of a better excuse to do it either.
It wasn't until the Gooner On The Road idea was conceived, that I decided I would dedicate the trip to my mother and raise money for The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. The TNBC Foundation focuses exclusively on the form of disease that my Mother had. Researchers don't yet fully understand TNBC, so there aren't as many 'targeted therapies' available. The more funding they have, the more research they can do and the more chance they have of uncovering new ways of treating the disease.
I'm raising £10,000 for the charity. If you have any interest in Arsenal or traveling, or you just want to witness somebody attempt to do something quite ridiculous (but entertaining), subscribe to my blog, follow me on Twitter and support me. And of course you can donate by clicking the Razoo link to the right (it's a bit like JustGiving, but because TNBCF is an American charity I have to fundraise in a different way).
Finally, if you're an Arsenal fan and you would like to be a part of the GOTR mission (either by watching a match with me, or better yet giving up a sofa for me to crash on), you can Tweet me or send me a message on my Facebook page.
Thanks for your support.