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But now I’m not leaning in any more, I’m reclining on my sofa and writing to my children.I’m writing the story of who I am and what I know from this period of my life, which is awful in the oldest sense of the word.And I write for you who are reading this, too, to give you advice on how to act with a family on the precipice of grief, what to say to someone who is going to die and what you can really do to help, because I have found there are few things more important and less spoken of than this situation my family finds itself in.

Instead, I’m writing, as if it is the only thing which can stop the mutant cells from colonising my insides.

I spent four years working in Downing Street before I was 30, serving two Prime Ministers.

I founded and ran a charity which rebuilt the vital organs of state in post-conflict Africa; countries like Rwanda and Sierra Leone that were torn apart by war and are finally getting back on their feet.

It is a near certainty that I will expire before my children finish primary school.

In October 2012 I was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer, aged 34.

Two operations and 12 cycles of chemotherapy later, I was declared cancer-free.A blissful three-month interlude of normal life concluded just before last Christmas, when I was told that the cancer was back, had spread aggressively and was now incurable.I’ll be shuffling off this mortal coil long before my allotted threescore years and 10, and probably before my twin sons hit six or seven, which I think is impossibly young and they think is impossibly old.Of the 40,000-odd people diagnosed with colon cancer every year, five per cent will be under 50.But recent US studies show that young people are more likely to be diagnosed when the disease is advanced, because no one (including well-meaning but negligent GPs) really thinks that cancer will strike before middle age; so young people can end up with even worse survival chances than the old.In these, my last, luminescent months (or weeks, or years: who knows?

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