There was a time I used to pause and reflect on the anniversary of my first surgery in 2010. But after six surgeries it gets overwhelming. I guess I prefer to wake up each day to the sound of birds and not hospital noises.

This week was different, though, as it was a particular anniversary for me. May 6, 2015 didn’t only mark six months from my surgery No.3. It was the day when I was joined with some close friends to cycle up Mont Ventoux, a ride captured in the documentary Dead Man Cycling. I’m not sure I ever liked the title and even more so now since studying psychology.

Why does this particular anniversary stand out? Well, possibly because I am sitting in Aviemore looking at the tombstone you get when cycling climbs in Europe. It sits on the table next to a rowing photo where I have breakfast up here in Aviemore each morning.

Or maybe it stands out because that was the last year I spent before being paralysed.

Being back in Aviemore has been the best therapy for my mind. As many hid inside from the midweek rain, I took to my gravel bike.

I rode for hours, only seeing two other humans, a stark contrast from London. And as I stood looking at the Cairn-gorms I thought how do I go back south?

This was strengthened as I sat in Prestonfield House on Thursday evening at the Business Beats Cancer dinner where we were raising money for cancer research.

The numbers on a slide said it all, but even more powerful was the response when asked to raise your hand if you or someone you know had been impacted by cancer.

Every hand in the room went up.

The numbers don’t lie, 1,000 new cancer diagnoses each day, that is around 375,000 new cases a year in the UK. Scarily one in two people born after 1960 will face cancer.

I was there to share my story but before me we heard from Professor Neil Carragher about the incredible work both Edinburgh and Glasgow University cancer labs are doing.

As I sat deep in thought about stem cells, genetics and the potential of AI in the medical fight against cancer, my conscious thoughts drifted back to the fact that everyone in this room raised their hand when asked if they had been impacted by cancer.

It made me reflect on my time in oncology and all those people who I have shared a moment with over my 13-year journey.

I had to quickly pull myself together as by now all I wanted to do was cry, but I had to speak. Thankfully Mark Beaumont was the interviewer and we sat down to have a nice conversation about the journey that had brought me to Edinburgh on stage with him.

We shared stories of cycling and the ups and downs of life and the impact cancer can have but also the incredible work cancer research is doing trying to find cures and treatments.

There was a feeling of togetherness in the room. And that is testament to those who sit on the board of Business Beats Cancer and the time they dedicated to creating such a wonderful evening.

After weeks of isolation it was exactly what I needed, to feel that I potentially made a difference and helped in raising much-needed funds for cancer research; I felt like it gave a level of purpose to my life, something to keep me fighting to stay alive, the hope that I could help save a life.

The evening raised an incredible £129,575 and as the chair Lou Kiddier said to highlight the importance of the evening: “Loss laced with hope is what binds our board together. Let’s pray for remedies, but pay for research.”