I remember the afternoon back in 2012 when Lisa called round.
We’d recently had a baby son and she wanted to check the little bruiser out, but she also wanted to talk to me.
I’d known Lisa for nearly fifteen years, since we lived next door to each other in halls at university and I’d talked her into writing for the student magazine (little did I know…) before she’d heard London calling and headed off to glory.
By then, we all knew that the cancer had returned, this time to her bones and brain, but still, whenever we caught up it was always fun and cheerful – “The Bullsh*t” was never a mood-poking elephant in the room. Still, when she visited me that day, her tone was more serious.
“When the time comes, I want you to look after the blog and keep it going.”
I said yes. Obviously. I even offered to help as time went on and things got tougher. But while saying no was never an option, I never imagined how things would turn out.
It’s been two years since she left us, and now that the TV adaptation is here, it’s time to share Lisa with the world. The film, by the way, is brilliant. Sheridan Smith is utterly luminous, and there were moments where she’d got Lisa so perfectly that it was a shock to watch. There’s a scene where they’re playing about in the hospital and she wears a sick bowl on her head that’s not only true but captures the real Lisa brilliantly.
It’s strange losing your friend and then watching it all again as a BBC prime time drama, but I left the preview screening with a grin on my face. Lisa wanted her story to be positive and funny, and the film does exactly that.
Looking after the blog is daunting sometimes, and one might argue that I lack an essential qualification (well, two to be exact), to be writing about breast cancer. Still, I’m proud to do it. It’s not always easy – keeping Lisa’s humorous spark going is a challenge – but she’s got lots of friends and family around who help me keep the blog alive.
Lisa dealt with “The bullsh*t” by swearing, writing, laughing, loving and cake. She knew she wasn’t alone – lots of women get breast cancer – but she knew it can feel like the most lonely place in the world. I’m proud of alrighttit.com because it gave people a sense of what it’s like to go through it, and to laugh at the absurdity of it all.
We’re the privileged ones, the ones who knew the real Lisa and got to spend time with her. She was just an ordinary girl who could write gold and never let the cancer beat her. Seeing this film is seeing her ambition realised. She liked a full stop at the end of things. I don’t know what the future holds for alrighttit.com, I think it may evolve into something quite different, but I hope that her story encourages others to write and share what they’re going through.
That’s Lisa’s legacy.