We watched the Stand Up To Cancer Gogglebox Celebrity Special last night on Channel 4.
We don’t usually watch Gogglebox and weren’t planning to join in the show’s fund-raising as we already make a donation every month to Cancer Research UK. But we wanted to see Jeremy Corbyn.
In the current febrile atmosphere of Westminster politics, Corbyn stands out as a beacon of hope. I can’t recall any politician ever having to contend with so much abuse and personalised vilification. Ed Miliband and the bacon sandwich, which plumbed new depths a couple of years ago, now seems moderate by comparison. And Corbyn has risen above all the abuse without biting back and now occupies the high ground. Hopefully he will be given the opportunity to lead others to his personal standards of respect and integrity.
So, having seen the hype about Corbyn’s appearance on the Gogglebox Special we were interested to see how he would handle it. And, of course, he was modest, quietly humorous and actually had quite a low-key part in the programme despite the fuss.
Without Corbyn’s involvement I wouldn’t have watched the show. My own cancer diagnosis is too recent and raw to go looking for TV programmes about the disease. And so I would have missed two of the most inspirational stories that could ever be told. A young girl was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer and faced up to the disease and its treatment with a maturity that most adults would struggle to achieve. Two young parents kept their children closely involved in the mother’s struggle with cancer while sustaining their loving family unit. The stories were told with honesty and truth; there was no sentimentality. And there was the inevitable conclusion.
The Gogglebox participants were overwhelmed with compassion for both families and so were we. Who could fail to be moved to tears by the stories of such young lives stopped short? I’ve been devastated by my own cancer diagnosis but I’ve enjoyed a full life of opportunities and experiences. Listening to these young individuals, and their families, talking about cancer with such fortitude, resilience and determination was a privilege and I am grateful to them for sharing their stories.
Last year Stand Up To Cancer raised over £15 million for cancer research. I’m sure that will be exceeded this year. We enjoyed watching the Gogglebox Stand Up To Cancer Celebrity Special and if you missed it you can catch it here.
Thanks for reading my blog today.