Beating bowel cancer together

How our community is marking Father’s Day

Saturday 19 June 2021

While Father’s Day (Sunday 20 June 2021) can be a joyful experience for many, it can be an incredibly tough time for others, including people affected by bowel cancer. We spoke to a few people in our community about the impact bowel cancer has had on Father’s Day, and how they are marking the day.

David Baxter, from Nottingham

David was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer in September 2020 and this is his first Father’s Day since his diagnosis.

What better motivation could I have to stay strong through the hardest of times, but with a smile or a hug from my little girls. I’ve got two girls: Brooke who has just turned five, and Riley is one. There is nothing in this world that makes you pick yourself up and go again than the thought of not being there for them.

Father's Day is just a nice reason to celebrate being a super proud dad to two amazing girls.

Louise Blyth, from Nottinghamshire

Louise lost her husband and father to their two young boys, to bowel cancer in 2016.

My young boys only know their dad through photos, it’s really the only way they remember him, they were just three and one back when he died.

Life has been a beautiful mix of darkness and sweetness since he left us. Father’s Day is a date that often looms on our calendar more for me than my children - it’s their normal not to have a dad now. But we all have to have a father. Some of us never know one, others like my children get them taken away earlier than anyone ever anticipated. Like so many other high days and holidays this day magnifies everything you have got just as much as everything you haven’t. It can hurt.

So in our house we honour Father’s Day but choose to set our hearts and mind to love. We pray for all of those who might be finding it tough and think of all the technicolour wonderfulness that this day brings. We think of the dads who selflessly do so much, the dads who for all sorts of different reasons don’t get to see their children grow up. We talk about the children whose dads are unknown to them or might have died. But we also think of all of the mums who have to be a dad and equally all of the dads forced to be a mum. We take a moment to be thankful for our friends who have stepped in when our dad hasn’t been able to be there and in our house we also now celebrate our new nearly dad who carefully steps into the space no one ever imagined would be filled.

Father’s Day can be tough but it can also be a celebration of love. So from our fatherless household to whatever your story and your home looks like today, know that we’re standing with you if it’s tough.

But also honouring and celebrating the love of the past, present and future you have too.

Here’s to fathers in all of their shapes sizes and roles.

Richard Newhouse, from Derby

Richard was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer in 2019 and has now finished treatment.

We had our daughter through IVF, and this was just another challenge to work through with the assistance of others - much like my treatment for cancer. Even though things haven’t always been easy, I am incredibly grateful for the things we have achieved and get to enjoy. Life is a team event.

This Father’s Day, as I do every day, I’ll be taking a moment to appreciate that life is what you make it. There is plenty of stuff that you cannot control, but you can always control your attitude.

Katia Cole, from Reading

Katia lost her partner and father to their two children, to bowel cancer in September 2020 and this will be their first Father’s Day without him.

We were never ones to make a fuss of dates. Rather little things to encourage the kids to show their love as well, as massive thank yous to each other. 

Tilda had two Father's Days with Chris, Jasper got four. Although there's no way this is okay, I'm not afraid or worried about the day. I love any excuse to talk to the kids about their wonderful dad. Perhaps we'll make cards, look at photos, go for a walk - I'll take their lead. They might not be ready to do anything and that's okay too. One day at a time. 

I'm grateful for every day we had Chris in our lives and celebrate each new adventure. He's the reason we can.

If you’re struggling this Father’s Day, our support and information on emotional wellbeing is here for you. You can also join our online community where you can share your experiences and memories of your loved ones.

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