When Brian Cave’s late wife, Ruth was diagnosed with bladder cancer she attended the Cancer Centre for treatment. Friends of the Cancer Centre supported them through an incredibly difficult time. This is their story:
“I think this is going to start like a little bit of a cliché, but Ruth was an amazing woman. She was full of life, she excelled in business as a community pharmacist for 30 years. She played a lot of high level sport as well as being a very, very good mother and wife. We also travelled a lot, particularly in recent years we followed our son, Darren as he played rugby for Ulster and Ireland. We followed him to New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Namibia all over Europe, USA and Canada. So we were always doing something and it was very busy and very happy household.”
“Ruth’s diagnosis came as a huge shock. The first symptoms she started to experience we put down to a UTI (urinary tract infection). It was my idea to see a bladder specialist and he had no suspicions, or if he did he didn’t tell us, but the scan revealed a tumour in her bladder. The news came as a big, big shock for all the family. It was a few weeks before our son’s wedding so it was a very busy time and it really wasn’t part of the planning at all.”
Friends of the Cancer Centre made a huge impact
“Ruth attended the Cancer Centre for treatment and immediately we were aware of the work of Friends of the Cancer Centre and the charity had a huge role to play in our time at the hospital.
“Nobody really wants to walk through the doors of the Cancer Centre. I don’t quite know how to say this as I don’t upset people, but I expected a sea of misery when I went through those doors with sick people and death, but that wasn’t what we found at all. The first thing you see as you enter the Cancer Centre is this bright yellow branding of the Friends of the Cancer Centre’s office. If you listen carefully you’ll hear a lot of laughter coming not office. You go upstairs into the bright wards and you can see the visitor and patient day rooms, which have been renovated by the charity and are full of televisions, coffee machines and newspapers. The next thing you’ll find is that if you go through those doors of the day rooms you’ll find beautiful gardens, which are maintained by Friends of the Cancer Centre. The main memory however was when you’d ask a specialist oncology nurse a question and she would sit down and would talk for maybe an hour, or as long as you wanted. There was no sense that she needed to be anywhere else and yet I’m sure she did.
“There’s 34 additional staff funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre and they’re covering specialist oncology nurses, researchers, radiographers’ right through to one of the consultant oncologists who treated Ruth. All are fully funded by the Friends of the Cancer Centre: a little office in the corner with maybe twelve people. It’s quite extraordinary. So as I said, nobody really wants to journey through the Cancer Centre but if you do take the time to look, you’ll see the work of Friends of the Cancer Centre making a huge difference at every turn.”
“It was a very strange time for us but at no stage did we ever think Ruth wasn’t going to win this fight. It never entered our head. Ruth got clear scans had a major operation which resulted in a couple of days in intensive care. She then got the news that the scans were clear, all the pathology was clear and she was well on the road to recovery. However, very unexpectedly, we were told that she had secondaries and at that stage we knew that the outcome wasn’t going to be good for us. Ruth sadly passed away in 2016.”
Life after Ruth
“When Ruth passed away there was just this huge gap and vacuum and you sometimes think you’re never going to come out of that. In my case, my son’s first baby was born in the same hospital a week to the minute after Ruth died. Our first grandchild. I often wonder why those two Saturdays weren’t the other way around and Ruth would have had a week with her granddaughter, but sadly that didn’t happen.
“There is a huge gap but quite unexpectedly life right now is just fantastic again. I didn’t expect that. I’ve got two grandchildren and I’ve a third on the way. I didn’t expect another chance at happiness and I really I want to make sure I grab it with both hands.”
By supporting Q Radiothon you’ll be making a real difference to families like Brian’s. 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 get involved at www.qradiothon.com/fundraising or donate now.