Saturday, 22 October 2011

Rest in Peace Harry

Abraham Lincoln said it best when he said “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years”. Harry Moseley, sadly died in his mothers arms last night at 11PM.

Four years ago Harry complained with a problem in his eye. A routine MRI scan was going to change his and his family’s life immeasurably. The routine MRI scan showed that Harry had an inoperable brain tumour. One cannot begin to understand the anguish and the pain that the family must have felt. At the age of 7 Harry was mid way through Primary school.

The reason that childhood is often considered the best time of your life is because for those few years life is at its very purest. For those few years you are completely free. There is no need to worry about the things that you worry about as an adult – exams, money, jobs, relationships and death. Life as a child is full of fun and full of dreams however when you become an adult the fun seems to stop and the dreams seem impossible to achieve, for they are laced with fear of failure. A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.

Harry Moseley appeared to have his childhood taken away from him. At the age of 7 he was told he was going to die. At the age of 7 he was catapulted into an adult world. When he was 9, he lost his hair as a result of treatment he was receiving for his cancer. At the same time he met a man named Robert, who also tragically had an inoperable brain tumour. Harry wanted to help Robert, Harry wanted to make his friend better. So, despite being pumped with poison and being gravely ill – Harry started to make beaded bracelets for his friend. He would sell these in the hope he could make enough money to cure Robert. Robert was not cured, Robert died 6 weeks after Harry’s campaign began.

Any person is formed and moulded by their thoughts. Harry’s mind, as proven by his campaign to help Robert, was shaped by selfless thoughts. This mindset gave him joy when he spoke or when he acted. Joy followed him like a shadow that never left him.

Harry realised that whilst he could not help Robert he could prevent others from having to experience what he and his friend had experienced. So he began fundraising. He started a campaign – helpharryhelpothers ( Harry was dealing with an ‘adult’ problem in a ‘child’ like way. By that I mean if you are a child then you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination. Harry was dealing with a crippling illness that made him tired, that made him weak. As an adult presented with these facts we would think that we should lay in bed, and we should rest. However Harry attended functions, he met the England football team who donated massive amounts for his charity, he became great friends with the ‘Dragons’ from Dragons Den who in turn have greatly helped Harry’s campaign. He joined Twitter and Facebook and promoted his charity – so much so that strangers up and down the country were doing great things, fun things, to raise money for this awesome campaign. Harry, who has had tens of operations, who has had two lots of chemotherapy, who has had radiotherapy, who has suffered the heartache of losing his friend has raised £500,000 for Brain Cancer Research.

Harry Moseley has now died but what a life he has lived. He has left a greater legacy in his short time than most of us can dream of in a lifetime. More importantly though, he has shown whilst you only live once, if you do it right, once is enough. His mum is with Harry, who is sleeping peacefully and he is ‘still wearing a smile’. It is amazing what you can learn from a child. I now know what Joseph Heller means when he says ‘When I grow up I want to be a little boy’.

Sleep well Harry.

Nothing is impossible

New Zealand is an amazing place. The most beautiful, the most awe inspiring place I have ever been to.

It began with the excitement of meeting my mates at the airport, knowing we were going to go on a plane to a country that was on the other side of the world. Knowing we were going to be there with men, women and children from countries as far as way as Namibia, to Australia to the Welsh or the Scots. At an event like this the human race becomes one.

We sipped our pints at the airport bar, we boarded a giant Boeing 747 and began to take off. At that moment, as I left the ground, it struck me that a Journey of ten thousand miles begins with a simple step.

To cure brain cancer seems a journey that is impossibly long. You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it. The Wright Brothers in 1903 had an ambition to get an object to fly. 108 years on I was on a plane to New Zealand, with two mates, to go to an international event where thousands from all over the world would be. Nothing is impossible. Harry Moseley’s mum recently tweeted that Harry had a dream ‘To find a cure for brain cancer to make sure no one goes through what he has gone through”.

Half way round the world an 11 year old had began another bout of chemotherapy. An 11 year old is lying in a bed, with his family around him praying that he will wake from the coma that has consumed him for the last month.

I, meanwhile, am looking up at mountains to the right, the sea to the left and an incredible rugby stadium right in the middle – as I stood there a quote a friend once told me hit me “Never tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” The only way we will help Harry’s dream is to do something. Life is too short not to do something that matters. You may think that you can’t do anything. You may think what can one person do to help? You may think that curing a terrible illness like cancer is impossible. What a load of bollocks.

John Stuart Mill said “One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests”. Harry Moseley, an 11 year old with an inoperable brain tumour has raised half a million pounds for Brain Cancer research. He has touched thousands with his story. He has even made a pretty selfish 24 year holidaying in New Zealand to stop and say what Can I Do? He is 11, he has an inoperable brain tumour. Imagine what you and your friends can do.

Next time you are up in a plane, or in a country far away just remember nothing is impossible. Harry is gravely unwell, no 11 year old should go through what Harry has gone through. Let’s make sure they don’t.

A few of us are going to be running every tube line in London over the next 6 months to raise money for Brain Cancer Research ( We are aiming to raise £10,000 – not enough to cure Brain Cancer but it is a single step, a single step added to the many taken already. Add these steps up and one day Harry’s journey will be complete. Please come and help us, raise money with us, run with us, tell people about the event. Just do something. If you do nothing else then tell someone about – help him complete his journey.

Harry Moseley - An Inspiration

Four years ago a 7 year old boy named Harry Moseley complained of problems with his eyes. The doctor recommended an MRI scan. The results were shared with Harry and at the tender age of 7 Harry was told that he had an inoperable Brain Tumour. He had, what we know as, terminal brain cancer.

Treatment began and Harry started on a course of chemotherapy. The most common side effects of chemotherapy are decreased production of blood cells, inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, and alopecia – hair loss. Harry was only 7 years old.

The chemotherapy did not work so at the age of 9 Harry had to undergo an intense course of Radiotherapy. Side effects of Radiotherapy include severe skin damage such as burning. Other side effects include mouth and throat sores, diarrhoea and nausea. Harry was only 9 years old.

When beginning his radiotherapy treatment Harry met a man named Robert, 55, who also tragically had an inoperable brain tumour. Now a child of 9 years, who had been diagnosed with something so shocking, whose body was being pumped with poison, could be forgiven for feeling nothing but anger. He could be forgiven for feeling unbelievable sadness. However Harry Moseley was no ordinary 9 year old boy. He would not be pushed by his problems, instead he would be led by his dreams.

The day Harry met Robert was the day Harry found his purpose. In 2009 Robert grew steadily more ill, Harry felt compelled to help. Harry started to make and sell beaded bracelets to raise lots of money for brain cancer research to help make him better.

I think back to when I was 9 and I was at primary school. I was 9, I was care free, I had no problems – no issues. My only problem would be if my mum would let me out to play football. I had no reason to be sad, I was 9 after all. If I did get sad it was because my dad wouldn’t let me go to my mates for a sleepover. I look at my 9 year old self and I cannot imagine, nor do I want to, how the 9 year old Harry Moseley felt. More than that though, I cannot imagine being so ill but at the same time being so utterly selfless. In fact my 24 year old self would still struggle with that.

I was an ordinary 9 year old. Harry Moseley however was an extraordinary 9 year old. He realised life is only as good as you want it to be. That’s why instead of feeling sorry for himself, instead of feeling anger he turned to kindness and compassion – two of humanities greatest qualities.

Sadly, four weeks into Harry’s campaign, his friend Robert, died aged just 55. Harry could no longer help Robert but he realised that he could help thousands of others that find themselves in Harry’s position. Steve Jobs once remarked that “Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart” and that is exactly what Harry did.

As I write, Harry has raised £500,000 for Brain Cancer Research. Harry is now 11 and is gravely unwell. As an 11 year old Harry should be excited about starting his new school, he ought to be wondering what great friends he is going to make and what experiences he is going to enjoy. Instead Harry lies in a hospital bed, in a coma, fighting for his life.

Four weeks ago, Harry had an operation which reduced the size of his brain tumour by 50%. But as of Wednesday 1 September doctors have confirmed that the tumour is now bigger than before the operation. He also has a lot of swelling around the brain which has prevented him from waking up since the operation. Harry is currently too weak for treatment. I have absolutely no doubt that Harry will continue to fight on. He will wake up. He will celebrate his 12th birthday. As Winston Churchill once remarked ‘If you are going through hell, keep going’ and I have no doubt Harry will keep going.

Harry Moseley ought to be a reminder to us all ‘you don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.’

Albert Schweitzer once said “Do something wonderful, people may imitate it”. Go to Harry’s website and help finish what he has started.