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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# Just Give
This man's hilarious and touching account of having cancer is raising thousands for charity
John Underwood’s tweets are, by turns, funny, heartbreaking and inspiring.

WHEN WRITER JOHN Underwood was diagnosed with a rare, late-stage blood cancer, he began to chronicle the whole thing on Twitter and his blog.

His tweets are, by turns, funny, heartbreaking and inspiring. But his most impressive achievement may be rallying his followers to raise £56,000 for a cancer charity.

John’s JustGiving campaign has amassed 2,700 donations and repeatedly beaten targets as he raises funds for Anthony Nolan, a UK charity which helps people with blood cancers.

Underwood wrote in The New Statesman last week that he had ignored his girlfriend who diagnosed him with blood cancer based on Google searches for two months.

The awkward thing about spending two months telling your girlfriend that she’s an idiot for Google-diagnosing you with leukaemia, of course, is when she turns out to be very nearly correct.

Underwood says that he took to raising the funds because he’s “trying not to die”.

“I’m John, and – full disclosure – three weeks ago I couldn’t have told you the first thing about Anthony Nolan. Then, after going to my GP with what I thought was a fairly innocuous vomiting bug, I was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with a very rare late-stage lymphoma. I can’t in all honesty recommend ‘find out you’re maybe dying’ as a general summer plan, but it does focus the mind wonderfully.

I’ve just started chemotherapy for the above (and I do mean just – the second bag is in my arm as I type), and although my treatment has a very long way to go my best shot at an eventual recovery will probably rest with Anthony Nolan. AN is a charity that finds stem cell transplants for people who, like me, have a cancer of the blood.

Underwood’s girlfriend Ella also wrote a piece on The Pool about how the experience was focused in her mind by lipstick of all things.

Cancer or no cancer, I wanted my boyfriend to think I was pretty, because whatever else, we were still young and in love and silly. Because there is, really, nothing sillier than lipstick.

Last night, the pair left the hospital for the first time in ten days.

Read: Facebook billionaire gives millions of ‘no strings attached’ cash to poor people

Read: Sure, they look pretty – but charity balloon releases are killing birds and dolphins

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