By supporting Q Radiothon you will be making a real difference to the lives of families affected by cancer and terminal illness across Northern Ireland. When Gary was diagnosed with Leukaemia (an incurable blood cancer) in 2008, his life changed forever. This is Gary’s story:
“One of the hardest issues after my diagnosis was how my wife and I would tell our children; particularly the youngest, who was still at school.
“We sat down and told the children and tried to be as upbeat and positive as possible. We also told my son’s school, so they were aware, in case it affected his behaviour, or school work.
“Talking about a terminal illness puts it out in the open and takes away some of the mystery and the fear. It empowers people who have been diagnosed and their families.
In 2009, Gary was diagnosed with Transitional Cell Carcinoma, which is an aggressive urological cancer. As well as receiving treatment including chemotherapy for the cancers he has been diagnosed with, Gary also received medication for the clinical depression he developed as result of receiving the two diagnoses.
It changed my life forever
“I went from working in frantic, high-pressure media environments, always working to urgent deadlines, to my life these days, which seems to revolve around hospital appointments, scans, blood-tests and review clinics.
“Following my diagnosis, I was surprised about how little I knew about what support was available with a terminal illness. I knew about Marie Curie – but had a very narrow view about what the charity offered. I thought it was only there for people who were dying.
Marie Curie were amazing
“When I was having chemotherapy the nurse who treated me suggested I go to the Marie Curie Day Centre for therapy and support. It’s an amazing place and I can’t praise it enough. They put together treatment package tailored to my needs. For example, I find it hard to sleep and so enjoy having reflexology there, which relaxes me. Other people enjoy having massage or other treatments. Going there is like being able to recharge your batteries.
“I get advice on relaxation, diet and fatigue, physiotherapy and complementary therapy. There are social activities, for example, there’s been a series of talks including local history. There is also medical staff on hand for advice and support.
“I’ve made some really good friends while I have been at Marie Curie’s Day Centre. We have become really close. You can relax and be yourself. You don’t have to put on a brave face if you don’t want to with them and you can swop advice on what support is out there. The staff and volunteers are absolutely fantastic. It has such a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and you really feel you can relax”.
Giving something back
Gary, who has recently completed a Masters with distinction in English (Creative Writing), now lobby’s on cancer issues and has spoken at Westminster and the NI Assembly. He has written on cancer-related issues and often speaks in support of Marie Curie at events.
“These are issues that I feel strongly about and I think it’s my way of giving something back.
“If there’s anything positive in having cancer, I’ve found that you meet many wonderful and inspiring people – in the healthcare professions and in organisations like Marie Curie. The difference that the support makes to the lives of those of us living with life-limiting conditions is remarkable.”
By supporting Q Radiothon you’ll be making a real difference to the lives of people, like Gary, across Northern Ireland. Q Radiothon is committed to supporting people by raising vital funds to support our fantastic charity partners. If you would like to help us make a difference, you can take part in our Big Brunch, hold your own event or make a donation.