I met Ali nearly 7 years ago when we worked together at Local publisher called Leeds Guide. Ali was very unique in her style and personality and at the time I was TOTALLY intimidated by her swag. She was brave enough to persue writing as a full time career which I thought was pretty badass. It’s like nothing else ever occured to her.
We became friends gradually and towards the end of our time together at work we were proper mates. We had a similar sense of humour and had a mutual love for Flight of the Conchords. So much so that I would refer to her as ‘Leggy Blonde’.
(I know, we we’re so cool).
6 years later and after years of walks in the park (I hate walking but it comes with the territory if you’re friends with Ali), drinking tea in quirky cafes, shopping for neon House of Holland stuff and being the last ones standing at nights out, the world stops for a moment. Ali, looking her normal smiling self (well, amazing in a red tea dress at a wedding reception actually) drops a bit of a bomb. She’s been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Ali has always been a beacon of positivity, and anyone that knows me has heard my Karl Pilkington-esque rants about the smallest of annoyances whereas Ali pretty much never complains. Somehow, this amazing personality trait that I could only dream of having has never wavered.
Being positive in this world is far harder than being hardened and cynical. It’s probably the hardest thing to do consistently. That’s why Ali is my hero. She’s had to deal with months of chemo, stopping working (she loves writing and it must be so hard to stop) losing her hair (though again, looking BADASS in amazing vintage headscarves) and her life plans being completely thrown into disarray. Ali is the strongest person I think I’ve ever met.
This all sounds like the cliché stuff people say to/about people with cancer, but this isn’t like that. I’m just floored by how amazing this person is at dealing with life. So graceful and without bitterness. I am learning a lot about how to be a better person from spending time with her so she deserves some acknowledgement for that.
I hope writing and sharing this is not completely cringe and it brings a smile to an awesome lady who deserves all the smiles.