Guardian G2 columnist Dina Rabinovitch, died yesterday aged 44. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. As the cancer progressed - and she underwent increasingly experimental treatment - she wrote a regular column for the Guardian about the good times and the bad. It was incredibly compelling and deeply moving. Her columns were collected into a book, Take Off Your Party Dress, which I recommend highly. She also blogged about her fundraising efforts for Mt. Vernon Hospital at Take Off Your Running Shoes where you can make a donation to her appeal.
After only the most distant connections with cancer, the disease has recently begun to intrude into my life. My father was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year and underwent a second operation only last week. A former colleague recently died of the disease and another is at home with a particularly vigorous cancer that, failing a miracle, will almost certainly kill him.
Dina opened a window on to what it's like to be diagnosed and live with cancer. In doing so, as the comments on her blog illustrate, she touched thousands of people. She shared her unique experiences, her anxieties for her partner and children, the psychological uncertainty and the physical pain all in such a way as to humanise this terrible disease and help all of us who are in some way affected by cancer to understand our own experience of it just a little better. Power to her!