Robin Legard tells us how his late partner's experience of advanced prostate cancer convinced the two of them that funding research into new treatments is a legacy worth leaving.
Stephen and I met in 1987, when he replied to a Lonely Hearts ad I’d put in Time Out magazine. When we met, I knew there was something there straight away. It was just instant.
Not long after, Stephen came to live very close to me with his son from his previous marriage, and we all sort of gelled together as a family.
He was always a very keen gardener, and it was while he was working in the garden in Autumn 2009 that he first experienced pain in his lower back.
I don’t think Stephen or I had ever discussed prostate cancer. It never crossed our consciousness. So, it came completely out of the blue when tests revealed the diagnosis
He didn’t think much about it at the time. But after three months of constant pain, his consultant arranged for him to have an MRI scan.
I don’t think either Stephen or I had ever discussed prostate cancer. It had never crossed our consciousness. So, it came completely out of the blue when tests revealed the diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer
Having been a senior government lawyer, Stephen had an amazing skillset and was able to turn his hand to all sorts of things. So as soon as he knew he had prostate cancer, he very much wanted to get involved with Prostate Cancer UK.
He joined the Grant Advisory Panel, a group of supporters who help review which research projects are funded. It gave him an idea about what upcoming research might be helpful to him – but also what might be helpful more generally, in terms of treatment of prostate cancer in the future.
Prostate Cancer UK was very dear to his heart and he was determined that whatever happened, he was going to go on supporting the charity. And so, Stephen chose to leave a gift in his Will to Prostate Cancer UK.
He felt that, by leaving a gift in his Will, he could keep on contributing to helping to tame prostate cancer, even after his death.
After Stephen died I decided to remake my Will and leave a gift to Prostate Cancer UK ... so future generations of men don’t have to suffer what Stephen did
Stephen experienced five years of normal life with prostate cancer while on hormone therapy. But advanced prostate cancer eventually becomes resistant to all forms of treatment.
A very hard moment for us both came when the tumours had spread so much that the consultant was obliged to tell us that no further treatment was possible. His condition went on a downward curve from then on. He got more and more tired and less and less able to eat, until his death in May 2018.
After Stephen died I decided to remake my Will, and leave a gift to Prostate Cancer UK.
I know there are developments around better treatments for advanced disease, but it all takes money. And if you can get targeted therapies that precisely treat the type of cancer that each man has, that would greatly help survival outcomes and hopefully one day – who knows – we might get to the stage of a cure.
I know all of that is on the horizon and can be made possible by leaving money in your Will, so future generations of men don’t have to suffer through what Stephen did.
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