Many families who've been through prostate cancer together will sadly be missing their dads tomorrow, but that doesn't mean they won't be celebrating them. Three tell us why their dads were so important to them.
“Dad was once described as ‘5’6 of Yorkshire granite’ and that’s how he was when it came to prostate cancer. He was first diagnosed at the relatively young age of 53 and fought the disease every step of the way for 10 years with a smile on his face. He took every type of treatment offered with an open mind and positive attitude, and his great sense of humour helped keep the mood light.
“His favourite past-time was playing with his granddaughter Sophie. The cancer had spread throughout his body and his bones. He’d come home from work, aching all over, and lay down on the sofa. But Sophie would have him up again in no time to play. He never once said no to her, regardless of the pain he was in. He absolutely adored her – his little princess!
You don’t lose a 10-year battle when you’ve fought it with such pride and dignity
“Dad always had time to help others, whether it was an understanding ear, a few words of encouragement, a good kick up the back-side or something amazingly generous. When a friend’s son was diagnosed with a brain tumour, the boy’s family did some fundraising so they could take him to Disneyland. When Dad heard, he paid for a villa so they could use their funds to make it a once in a lifetime holiday!
“I’ve heard people say he lost his 10-year battle, but I disagree. You don’t lose a 10-year battle, not when you’ve fought it with such pride and dignity. He was, and always will be, a top dad (and grandad!)”
“We have so many happy memories of our dad, who was a hero to us. We remember the many camping holidays we had, setting off early in the morning to ‘beat the rush’.
“He was kind, gentle, sociable, popular and was admired and loved. He guided us through everything and supported what we wanted in life. He worked very hard to provide for us. Dad was always there no matter what. His love was forever strong, and cuddles forever tight.
Our lives have changed forever. We just wish he could still be with us
“Our lives were shattered when he was diagnosed. We assured ourselves, ‘Dad can fight it’. And he shielded us from the severity of the illness and carried on as normal until the cancer spread. The illness deprived Dad of his mobility and independence but he fought with dignity and bravery.
“Our lives have changed forever. We try to cope, but we’ve lost our support and inspiration and his guidance and love. We just wish he could still be with us.”
"I’ve always looked up to my dad. He worked hard all his life, had been self-employed and had achieved so much. So when he became unwell, I was devastated. After an initial PSA test, my father was referred for a biopsy. And in December 2012, we were told that dad had advanced prostate cancer that was in his lymph nodes and chest cavity.
"He went through so much in the past three years: hormone treatment, steroids, two rounds of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, a stoma, a catheter, severe fluid retention in his legs and groin – sheer torture. Since September, my father was really struggling. He became housebound and was in a lot of pain.
It’s heart-wrenching how many of our family have been affected by this horrible disease
"Then in the January of this year, my mum’s mum took ill at 87 and passed away from stomach cancer at the end of February. The sudden passing of my grandmother really knocked my dad and he deteriorated very quickly, sadly passing on 12 March.
"It’s heart-wrenching how many of our family have been affected by this horrible disease – my husband’s grandfather also had prostate cancer – which is why I think it’s so important that men are aware of the hereditary risks and the need to catch prostate cancer early.
"My husband is going to start having a regular annual PSA blood test from this year to put both our minds at rest. We’ve got two beautiful boys and I know they have an increased risk of the disease.
"I just hope Prostate Cancer UK’s aim to tame prostate cancer in ten years will have a real effect on the way the disease is diagnosed and treated for future generations."