Christmas 2014. Our two boys (18 & 22) were living the dream in New Zealand and Claire just didn’t feel quite right. She’d lost her appetite and had backache.
Early January. See the doctor: “Sounds digestion-related.” Tests planned. Wait. Pain remains. See another doctor. February passes.
March. Claire had gallstones in her youth – let’s get it checked. Join NHS queue. Doctors say “Go to A&E if the pain gets worse.” We go to A&E – we can’t live like this. Go private for diagnosis: “Remove the gallbladder” – but NHS wait is 18 months. Tears of pain and frustration. Morphine prescribed.
06 April. Prepped for private operation, but surgeon says “There’s a shadow on the MRI”. Op cancelled. Biopsy. The world’s got serious now.
17 April. Throwing tablets back up. Back to A&E. Admitted.
20 April. Pancreatic cancer confirmed. Devastated, but we’ll fight! Morphine now on a driver. Can’t start chemo – blood count’s too high. Stent inserted, but doesn’t help. Claire’s tired, losing more weight.
22 May. Claire’s home but is vague and slow. she seems lost.
23 May. She needs hospital treatment. She walks out of the house and into the car. We didnt realise it would be for the last time. Oncology Ward. She sleeps. We talk to her, hoping. Can’t accept it. The boys are now on first flight home.
25 May. Exactly 5 weeks from diagnosis, Claire passes away aged 50. A petite, non-smoking vegetarian who everyone adored. The boys are given the news in Heathrow Terminal 2 the next day.
So why support PCRF? It’s obvious really. No one should go through what Claire went through. It’s a savage disease. We want research for earlier diagnosis and a cure. To give others a chance.
We’ve raised £10,000 for PCRF with Quiz nights, Christmas events, auctions, raffles, 10k runs, and head and beard shaves. The fundraising will continue indefinitely. We wear the PCRF wrist bands too, so people see. We wore them yesterday, wore them today and we’ll wear them tomorrow.