A woman who was devastated to learn that her dad had terminal bone cancer has been at the forefront of a charity fund raising effort.
Activities Co-ordinator Susie Owen encouraged colleagues and residents at the Pendine Park care organisation, in Wrexham, to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
The tea pots in their Bryn Bella and Highfield care homes were constantly refilled during a Marie Curie Great Big Tea Party event with cuppas and biscuits being sold to raise funds for the charity.
Marie Curie Cancer Care provide end of life care to terminally ill patients in their own homes, or in one of their nine hospices.
Susie, 46, who works at Highfield, found out that her dad, Roy Cripps, 74, had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer 19 months ago.
Despite just being given between 12 and 18 months to live, Susie’s dad is still going strong.
According to Susie, he is feeling better now than he has been at any time over the past five years.
She said: “I really support Marie Curie Cancer Care as they do absolutely amazing work. But I would also like people to realise there can be positives, it isn’t all doom and gloom so don’t let a diagnosis such as cancer defeat you.
“For the first few weeks after I was told dad had cancer, and it was considered terminal, I was a wreck. Then I began to think there has to be more to it and I had to follow dad’s lead by being positive and not giving up on the fight.”
Susie’s dad, who enjoyed a life-long working career in the RAF and retired as a Warrant Officer, had originally been diagnosed with prostate cancer and it was only later that the secondary bone cancer became apparent following a scan.
She added: “Yes there was treatment available to dad but the cancer couldn’t be removed as you could perhaps remove a solitary tumour. He underwent chemotherapy and was supposed to have 10 doses but it was stopped after eight.
“He simply had no quality of life and spent most of the day asleep. However, I have to say, and it might not be the case for everyone, but since he stopped having chemo his condition seems to have improved.
“However, he does have to have constant injections of a cement type of substance that strengths his bones.”
But Susie says she firmly believes that, although her dad’s is still suffering from a terminal illness, she knows he has remained positive and has already surpassed the 18 months that doctors gave him to live.
She said: “Dad, and my mum, Eileen, have been married for 46 years and I think dad is determined to make it to their golden wedding. Obviously, I dearly hope he makes it.”
And Susie says her dad puts his recent upturn in health and the cancer being held at bay to a religious experience he had while on a shopping trip to Llandudno with Eileen.
Susie said: “Apparently dad was by his car on the sea front when a lady passed the time of day and said it was a lovely place to live. Dad said it was a lovely place to die too and for the first time told someone outside of the family of his cancer.
“This lady explained that she was the wife of a pastor and asked if it was all right to offer a prayer for his health. I think dad thought it was to be in a church on a Sunday.
“However, the pastor his wife and mum and dad held hands there and then on the car park and prayed. The next day he swears he had a warm sensation in his back and the pain, which to that point had been almost unbearable, disappeared.
“In fact the pastor and his wife have remained friends and they pray for him regularly as does my own church in Wrexham.”
She added: “Now whether it is mind over matter or there is something more to it I don’t know but it does come back to being positive. What the future holds we don’t know and I am aware that with cancer people can go downhill all of a sudden and very rapidly.
“What I do know is that dad would never give up and it is up to us as a family to support him and be there for him.
“When I was told of dad’s diagnosis I contacted both Marie Curie Cancer Care and McMillan Cancer Support for help and advice. The information I got was
Really helpful and they were really supportive.
“I don’t think it is until a family member is diagnosed with cancer that you really understand just what an important role organisation like Marie Curie Cancer Care fills.
“They deserve our full support and if we can raise a few pounds through our a Marie Curie Great Big Tea Party then that has to be a good thing.
“The event took place during the residents’ art classes and some residents designed cakes and biscuits in yellow and blue, the colours of Marie Curie Cancer Care, which were sold. Relatives also came in and we held a raffle with lots of donated goodies up for grabs.”