I could write for hours about my dad, you sadly don’t recognise the brilliance of someone until they’re no longer there. As I write this, I can't help but feel a surge of emotions – a mixture of sadness, gratitude, and admiration.
My dad, a man of compassion, resilience, and unwavering spirit, taught me invaluable lessons about life and the importance of pursuing goals with unwavering determination. His journey with brain cancer, though heartbreaking, ignited a passion within me to support the fight against this devastating disease. I have no doubt that’s what he’d do. He’d use the experience to help others somehow.
My dad, an Accountant by profession, was a huge character. He possessed a natural ability to connect with people, always seeking ways to make a difference in their lives. He made a conscious decision to transition from the corporate world into the charity sector at the height of his career, joining the British Tinnitus Association, which exemplified his genuine care for others. He dedicated his time and expertise to not only working, but making a difference every day.
In 2021, a year after retirement, my dad's life took an unexpected turn. A severe fever, initially diagnosed as COVID-19, marked the beginning of a challenging journey. His condition deteriorated, and we witnessed a decline in his communication abilities. As time passed, it became evident that something more serious was at play.
In December 2022, an MRI revealed the heartbreaking truth – a golf ball-sized tumour in my dad's brain. The diagnosis of stage four Glioblastoma, an incurable form of brain cancer. The doctors' prognosis of 12-18 months struck a heavy blow, but my dad's fighting spirit remained undeterred. One of his first thoughts was that the Salvation Army need to know so that he could work his treatment around the painting he’d promised to do for them.
Throughout this difficult time, I was incredibly grateful for the unwavering support of my colleagues at Sewell Wallis. They went above and beyond for me and my family, providing emotional and practical support whenever needed. Their kindness and compassion helped me navigate this challenging period with a sense of hope and resilience.
With unwavering courage, my dad embraced every treatment option, facing each challenge with remarkable resilience. He cherished every moment of happiness and freedom, even as his cognitive function gradually declined. His determination to attend my sisters wedding, despite his deteriorating health, was a testament to his unwavering love for his family.
Sadly, my dad's journey came to an end in May 2023. A week following the wedding and just 5 months after his initial diagnosis. His strength and resilience throughout his battle with brain cancer continue to inspire me. One phrase that never wavered through his battle with language was, "We'll See,". He’d say it with a smile and apply it to all challenges that we as a family deemed too difficult for him. He succeeded at all of these challenges. This reflected his determination to live life to the fullest, even in the face of adversity.
In memory of my dad and to honour his legacy, I am proud to announce that Sewell Wallis has supported me in choosing Brain Tumour Research as our charity of the year. Brain Тumour Research is a leading charity dedicated to finding a cure for all types of brain tumours and increasing funding for vital research. Their work is crucial, as brain tumours kill more men under 70 than prostate cancer and more women under 35 than breast cancer.
Our goal for the coming year is to raise awareness about brain tumours, share these startling statistics, and raise funds to support Brain Тumour Research's mission. Together, we can make a difference and give hope to those affected by this devastating disease.
If you'd like to join us in supporting Brain Тumour Research, please visit our JustGiving page: Sewell Wallis is fundraising for Brain Tumour Research (justgiving.com)
Together, we can work towards a brighter future where brain tumours are no longer a devastating diagnosis. Hopefully this year, myself and Sewell Wallis can make a difference. We’ll see.