It is over 9 years now since I lost my wife Patricia to gallbladder cancer. Pat sadly passed away in February 2010, only five weeks after cancer had been officially confirmed, and just over two months since an operation for the removal of her gallbladder, a process that our family expected to be routine. Unfortunately it was not, and our lives were turned upside down.
Pat and I had been together since September 1963, so you may imagine the shock and heartache that our family experienced then, and have learned to cope with. My boys, David and Stephen, along with their families have done everything possible to support me, and I shall always be so grateful to them all.
We all got together in 2011 in our favourite place, Guernsey in the Channel Islands, where Pat & I honeymooned, then spent many happy holidays along with the boys in their younger days, and on our own later on. In fact our last holiday in Guernsey was June 2009, just a few months before things started to go wrong. In June 2010 we took Pat's ashes back to what we now call her "spititual home", and are happy to continue to visit the Island, not in the sense of a pilgrimage, but as a wonderful place to go to, and to share many happy memories. Some of the things my boys got up to on these holidays have come out into the open lately! It's just as well Pat & I didn't know about them earlier!
Gallbladder cancer, part of the Hepatobiliary strain, is a quite rare and very aggressive form of the disease. In Pat’s case, diagnosis came far too late to save her. Pat spent her last days at St. James’s Hospital in Leeds, and whilst their Oncology Department is world renowned, Hepatobiliary research lags well behind in terms of manpower and funding. I understand that there are six Research Fellows working specifically in this area at St. James’s, and it costs each one approximately £10,000 annually in laboratory expenses alone, so you can see what they are up against.
In September 2010 our family decided to try to assist the people at St James's, if only in a small way, and I became an authorised fundraiser for the Ray of Hope Trust Fund (ref 5T41), the charity for the Hepatobiliary Department, which is part of Leeds Cares (formerly the Leeds Hospitals Charitable Foundation - Registered Charity Number 1170369.
Updating this page in May 2019, we have so far raised £43,000 for the Ray of Hope, thanks mainly to nine fantastic Brass Band concerts that we have been able to organise involving the world famous Black Dyke Band. They have played for us at Morley and Dewsbury and six times now at Ossett Town Hall, most recently on 27th April 2019.
The 2020 concert has already been arranged for Saturday April 25, again at Ossett Town Hall, with a 7.30 pm start. Please put that date in your diaries! Based on previous feedback, it will be an event not to be missed!
Last October Maisie Milton - Grandson Greg's girlfriend - took part in the Manchester half marathon. She completed the course and raised £395 in sponsorship for our cause. I should like offer Maisie my sincere thanks and also to everyone who supported her. Cheers, Maisie!
Also getting in on the act, my son Stephen ran the Hull half marathon on June 10, and has raised over £1,800 for Pat's People & Ray of Hope. Grandson Greg also took part and along with his Dad completed the course in a very creditable 2hrs 11 minutes. Thanks to their efforts we are now at the £43,000 fundraising figure.
The key factor in our campaign is diagnosis time. It is impossible now to work out exactly when correct diagnosis would have been needed to give Pat a fighting chance, but if we can assist research into this disease at St. James’ and help to save the life of just one person in the process, our efforts will have been worthwhile.
So, if you feel able to join our cause right now and become one of Pat’s People, you can make a donation - however small - via this website. JustGiving will send your donation direct to the Leeds Hospitals Charitable Foundation for "Ray of Hope", and if you are a tax payer they automatically reclaim Gift Aid on behalf of the LHCF. Furthermore JustGiving is fast and totally secure, and guarantees never to spam you or sell your details.
Your help and generosity mean a great deal to our family, and with all funds received being "ringfenced" and going direct to Ray of Hope, they will be enormously grateful.
With thanks in advance for your generosity, sincerely Graham Willis
Telephone 01924 266393 Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supported by David, Christopher and Harry; Stephen and Clare, Gregory (and Maisie) and Victoria.