Supporter Will Chiles (above, with wife Claire, and sons Jack and Joe) talks about his involvement with the charity
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. We see the doctor: “Sounds digestion-related.” Tests are planned. We wait. The pain remains. We see another doctor. February passes.
March. Claire had gallstones in her youth – let’s get it checked. We join NHS queue. The doctors say “Go to A&E if the pain gets worse.” We go to A&E – we can’t live like this. We go private for a diagnosis – “Remove the gallbladder” – but the NHS wait is 18 months. Tears of pain and frustration. Morphine prescribed.
06 April. Claire’s prepped for a private operation, but the surgeon says “There’s a shadow on the MRI”. The operation is cancelled. Biopsy. The world’s got serious now.
17 April. Claire’s throwing tablets back up. We go back to A&E. Claire’s admitted.
20 April. Pancreatic cancer is confirmed. We’re devastated, but we’ll fight! Morphine’s now on a driver. She can’t start chemo – her blood count’s too high. A stent is inserted, but it doesn’t help. Claire’s tired, losing more weight.
22 May. Claire’s home but is vague and slow. She seems lost.
23 May. Claire needs hospital treatment. She walks out of the house and into the car. It would be for the last time. Oncology Ward. She sleeps. We talk to her, hoping. Can’t accept it. Our boys are now on the 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 when they land.
So why do I 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 over £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.