Meet my family. My Dad’s strong, my Mum holds everything together, my brother’s smart and I’m me. This is what we look like.
Okay, it’s not, but it might as well be…
18th June 2012.
I was 18. At that age, you think you know everything but you really don’t – or at least, that’s what I know now at 22. Life, then, seemed everlasting and unbreakable. I finished with school forever and just wanted to start the next chapter of my life. I was excited to move out and begin a new life in a new city.
I was fed up with studying subjects at school that I didn’t care about and couldn’t wait to specialise at university. My relationship with my parents was okay, but I felt it could’ve been a lot better. I think I knew for a long time that the distance between us after I moved out would be a positive. Although I really didn’t anticipate how, and why, that would change…
3rd September 2012.
I found out my Dad had cancer after a family dinner. My parents kept my brother and I at the table and told us. We had kind of known something had been wrong, but we didn’t guess this.
Were they getting a divorce? Separating? Our minds were racing, but a diagnosis wasn’t what we were expecting. Parents are invincible, aren’t they? How were we going to get through this?
15th November 2012.
Five weeks after that meal, my Dad was in for surgery. The cancer was diagnosed as stage 3 (the stage where it starts to spread) so operating quickly was important. I found it harder to keep it together as time went on.
I lost a lot of weight and threw myself into voluntary work of my own. I became as active as I could, to try and distract myself from how much I missed being able to see him everyday.
There’s not much like seeing your Dad in intensive care. Typically speaking, the father figure in your life is someone who is usually the strongest, an alpha-male who looks after everyone else without needing to be looked after.
It takes a lot to know my Dad off his feet and we knew it would take a lot to get him back on them.
4th December 2012.
A few weeks after surgery, Dad was allowed back home. He began regular chemotherapy. It’s hard to watch your Dad in a difficult situation.
He looked like a ghost of who he really was: a generous man full of life. The drugs were sucking the life out of him and he was stuck in his chair attached to a machine. He spent what felt like years to me stuck in his chair being visited by nurses to help with the wound from surgery and check chemotherapy was going alright.
Colour began to return to his face as the chemotherapy overtook the illness. It might’ve taken a while, but my Dad was nearly there.
30th September 2016.
As time went on, the scans were less frequent until they were once a year. My Mum still worries about the outcome of the scans, but this time, we know changes won’t go unnoticed. They’ve already worked out the ultimate teamwork dynamic so anything else that happens will seem manageable.
27th August 2016.
Nowadays, my Dad does long distance charity cycles. He’s raised thousands since being in remission for the various charities that supported him and my Mum during his illness. He’s the one in the middle, leader of the group.
Good Luck to all of our riders taking part in Ride The North this weekend. We will be there to cheer you on! #RideTheNorth #MaggiesAberdeen
31st January 2017.
It’s been five years since my Dad finished chemotherapy. Today, my Dad, in association with ‘Beating Bowel Cancer‘ who my Mum volunteers tirelessly for, appeared on This Morning in a bid to lower the age for the bowel cancer screening test in England.
In Scotland, it’s 50 but in England it’s 60. If my family hadn’t have moved to Scotland and stayed there when I was little, my Dad definitely wouldn’t have been here today and I probably would’ve lost him just as I was getting my unconditional to study at university. If anyone’s ever needed it, that is definitive proof of fate.
Watch the video below.
Today, my Dad appeared on This Morning in a bid to lower the age for the bowel cancer screening test in England. In Scotland, it's 50 but in England it's 60. If my family hadn't have moved to Scotland and stayed there when I was little, my Dad definitely wouldn't have been here today and I probably would've lost him just as I was getting my unconditional to study at university. If anyone's ever needed it, that is definitive proof of fate.It's needless to say how proud I am of my family and our ability to overcome adversities. I know my parents are definitely where I get my resilience from and it's one of my favourite qualities. I'm so grateful for every choice that was made, every inevitable and every time my mum complains Scotland is boring (because she's right, it is) because my Dad now will not miss out on some of the most exciting parts of my life.Both my parents have such an important role to play in this; my Mum campaigns tirelessly while my Dad is the face of it all. We're given the gift of living every single day, so make sure you tell important people you love them, and look after yourself the best you possibly can.
Posted by Katy Haugh on Tuesday, 31 January 2017
I’ve lost count of how many newspapers my parents have been featured in, how many times they’ve been invited to parliament and how many times we’ve laughed about them living the high life since Dad’s diagnosis.
Make no mistake, this publicity all comes from my Mum’s drive to not let other people go through what we did, or with the outcome being worse.
I think Dad would be secretly quite happy to just get on with life now it’s all over. But my Mum’s always been a fighter.
The coolest thing is how much they get people talking. When the show was airing, people were tweeting about their own experiences.
#ThisMorning I was just 25 when I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer. Imo the screening age is still too high. Never assume you're too young.
— Andy Doodles Baker (@andydoodles) January 31, 2017
Why is there even a debate about lowering the bowel cancer screen age? So many lives could be saved #ThisMorning
— Matthew Robinson (@Matt_witte_R) January 31, 2017
— Samantha Evans (@Sam_H_Evans) January 31, 2017
#ThisMorning I lost my dad to bowel cancer in 2011. He was diagnosed Sept 11 and he died Dec 11. Please give people a chance!
— Francesca Bradford (@cesca_uk) January 31, 2017
It’s needless to say how proud I am of my family and our ability to overcome adversities. I know my parents are definitely where I get my resilience from and it’s one of my favourite qualities.
So make sure you’re spending every moment you’ve got with your parents. You never know when they could be taken away from you. By cancer, or any other illness. Until then, appreciate them for what they are: superheroes.
Have you or your family been affected by cancer? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!