On Tuesday 20th August 2013, my wonderful father, Gordon Thomas, passed away. It appears that a lymphoma was the underlying cause of his problems all along.
This past year has been cruel and heartbreaking, but at the same time beautiful and full of love. I will be forever grateful for the last nine months we had together. Nothing in our lives was left unsaid, no questions are left about how we felt; he grew to adore Jaemie and left us knowing that I have him and I will be OK.
I want to set up a tribute to Dad, and while a cancer charity might seem like an obvious choice it’s actually Vasculitis UK that I would like to invite people to donate to. As some of you know Dad was taken very seriously ill over Christmas with Central Nervous System Vasculitis, which we now know was an early manifestation of the lymphoma. It is a terrifying neurological condition and we were left helpless watching his considerable mind and intellect slip away while a diagnosis and any treatment eluded us.
Vasculitis is notoriously difficult to diagnose and on January 2, still unconvinced that Dad was getting the correct treatment, I rang this charity in desperation. The information John Mills provided me with gave my family the confidence to keep fighting on Dad’s behalf and finally get him in front of the consultant that saved his life and gave me these last, ever so precious, months. We were lucky, Dad’s brain healed and cognitively we got most of him back, but that doesn’t happen for everyone.
Vasculitis UK works with medical professionals to improve the recognition and diagnosis of the disease, which could in time prevent other families going through what we did. But most importantly, like all charities, our donations mean that next time someone calls them up, desperate and frightened like I was, they will be there to pick up the phone.