This coming February I am planning to walk the length of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (14 days in length, 180 miles in distance and around 35,000 feet in ascent) in memory of my beloved husband Ed.
The above photo, which was also pictured on the back of the Order of Service at Ed's funeral, was taken in a place called St Justinian's just 3 weeks before he died. He looks so happy.
My intention is to be in St Justinian's on Sunday 19th February, which would have been our first wedding anniversary. I'll have a few companions with me along the way but it's going to be tough and I'd hugely appreciate your support in raising some money for the Royal Marsden Sarcoma Research Fund. The care Ed received from the Royal Marsden was second-to-none, but sarcomas are very rare, survival rates are not good and much more research is needed.
Let's try to spare someone else from losing their husband, father, son, brother or friend the way we have had to.
In July 2012 I met a man called Edward Watson. I knew within minutes (I think we both did) that someone extraordinary and wonderful had walked into my life and that somehow things were never going to be the same again. And how right I was - Ed was everything I had ever wanted. He was the kindest, funniest, handsomest and most unique person I had ever known and almost overnight I knew what real, magical, forever love was meant to feel like. It didn't matter where we were or what we were doing, we were happy just to be in each other's presence, and every single time I saw him I was as excited as I was when we first met. We were made for each other, simple as that.
In June 2014, the week we moved in together, Ed was diagnosed with
Sarcoma, a very rare type of cancer that accounts for just 1% of adult diagnoses in the UK. Not only that, but Ed had Ewing's Sarcoma, which usually affects teenagers and young adults and only makes up 14% of all bone cancer diagnoses. Of course, with his typical humour, he joked about how he was only ever going to get something incredibly unusual, but behind the smile was a will of pure iron and an absolute determination to deal with, and beat, anything that was thrown his way.
So as well as being the kindest, funniest, handsomest and most unique person I had ever known he also quickly became the bravest and strongest. He had an operation (and built a chicken house in our garden while he was 'recovering') and then underwent 9 brutal months of aggressive chemotherapy, during which he almost always described himself as feeling 'medium' when of course he was often feeling horrendous.
In June 2015 Ed finished chemotherapy and there followed 7 months of holidays, wedding plans and conversations about the houses we would buy, the places we would visit and the lifetime of love, laughter and happiness that we had ahead of us.
But in February 2016 we found out the cancer was back and it was worse. On 19th February we got married, on 21st February Ed was hospitalised and exactly 6 months later, on 21st August, after more surgery, more chemotherapy, and more determination to survive than I have ever seen, Ed died peacefully at home in my arms.
He knew how loved and cherished he was, by me, by his children, by his father and sister, by his many many friends. And now I want to do something to honour his memory, to make him proud and to raise some much-needed funds to fight this devastating disease.
About the Royal Marsden Sarcoma Unit
Sarcomas are rare tumours of connective tissue, accounting for about 1% of adult and 15% of childhood cancers.
Survival for patients with sarcomas has not improved as much as survival rates for more common cancers. Almost half of patients with sarcoma will die within five years of diagnosis - this compares with 13% of breast cancer patients. Other cancer types are trying new techniques and treatments such as immunotherapy but sarcoma research is behind. It is only by investing in research that new methods of treatment will be discovered and more adults and children will survive sarcoma for longer.
The Royal Marsden has one of the largest sarcoma units in the world, made up of internationally renowned physicians, oncologists, radiologists, surgeons and researchers who see over 1,200 new patients each year. The team have been at the forefront of developing new drugs and techniques for treating sarcomas, as well as publishing and presenting world leading research, but there is so much more to do to save more lives.
Everything raised on this page will go directly to The Royal Marsden’s sarcoma unit to fund laboratory and clinical research.