In June 2011, Tom was a healthy, fit, fun-loving 26 year old. He played football, cricket and loved life. He was the person everyone wanted at the party. He was sensitive to other people's needs, generous and kind. Most people will remember him for his wicked sense of humour! He was extremely bright and was starting on his career as a lawyer.
By July 2011, Tom was suffering increasingly from heartburn and indigestion. After many visits to various doctors and losing weight, he was sent for an endoscopy. The result of that and the scan a few days later was shattering. Tom had Oesophageal Cancer. It was Stage 4 and inoperable. Within 3 weeks Tom was in Clatterbridge receiving chemotherapy.
Typical of Tom he fought very bravely. He very rarely complained, but longed for his old life back, frightened of the future sometimes and desperate to be well again. For a while we thought we had the cancer under control.
In May 2012 we were all on holiday in Greece when Tom's discomfort began to grow. He was admitted to Clatterbridge where they did all they could, but the cancer had spiralled out of control.
Tom died at home on the 13th of June 2012 surrounded by his friends and family. He was 27 years old.
Oesophageal Cancer is an insidious disease. Often, by the time the symptoms manifest themselves it is too late, the disease has already gone too far. It is thought to be linked to obesity, people over 60, heavy drinkers and smokers. Tom was none of these. He was one of a growing number of young men to contract this cancer.
At the moment there are no answers as to why Tom developed this cancer and why it is increasing. It is vital that research will shed some light onto why Tom and other young people are victims of Oesophageal Cancer. Raising awareness early is vital, as is early detection, as well as the vital WHY? There is fund at Clatterbridge, ring-fenced for research into Oesophageal Cancer. It costs about £25,000 to fund a research programme. So far there is about £18,000 and that is increasing slowly. Every £1 gift aided is worth £1.25 that is an enormous amount when it comes to real giving.
We hope you will all support our brave climbers, so that the evil mountain of this cancer can be conquered.