In November 2007, when I was 8, my Dad went to the doctors with a small "cyst" on his chest. After some X-Rays, PET scans, bone and CT scans the doctor confirmed that he had cancer. The cancer on his chest was a secondary cancer, the primary cancer had started in his left kidney. He was fast tracked to the Royal Marsden and informed that a long and complex operation would be required to remove the bone tumour and surrounding bone, which included two ribs and the collar bone. The operation was carried out the next day and lasted approximately 10 hours. Whilst he was recovering from this operation, he was informed that the cancer had been found in both of his kidneys and he had mets in both lungs. Since further operations were off the table for a while, he was put on the drug Sutent. In April 2009, he had a partial nephrectomy (partial removal) on one kidney and then had the same surgery again a couple of months later in July. About a month after this second kidney surgery, Dad was told that the cancer had spread further to his brain and the lymph nodes in his chest. This spreading got progressively worse, and as my Dad so calmly said "Ive been for another brain scan, good news is they've found a brain but bad news is that there are more tumours to be treated". By now, he had started a course of gamma radiation to "zap" the tumours out of his brain and in March 2010 he started having whole brain radiotherapy. After he had completed his radiotherapy, his brain scans were clear and all of his other tumours were stable so we were feeling very hopeful. This was until October, when he was told that his Sutent was no longer working and he had to start a new drug called Everolimus. He underwent more surgery, and radiotherapy to the spine and trialled a new drug. Eventually, in April 2011, it became apparent that all options had been exhausted and we had to prepare ourselves for the worst. I have so many funny memories, even during this time, of my Dad being very very poorly but still demanding that we give him Easter eggs. Even in his worst moments, he never lost his appetite!! On May the 11th, 2011 he passed away at home surrounded by his family.
Losing my Dad at 11 years old was by far the worst and most heartbreaking experience of my life, but I am so so incredibly grateful that I got to spend 11, nearly 12, years of knowing him. Had it not been for cancer research doing their amazing work, I would have lost him at 8 years old. This is why I am running the Race for Life this year to support them. If you can spare some money, please consider donating to this amazing cause. It gave me an extra 3 and a half years of knowing my Dad, which I am eternally grateful for.
"I am one of the lucky ones, the support from my family and friends has been overwhelming and humbling." - Bob Jakubiak
Thank you xxx