Beating bowel cancer together

Walking together in memory of my Dad

Thursday 2 September 2021

Bal lost her father to bowel cancer aged 64, after a late diagnosis in October 2019. She and her family took part in Walk Together to mark her Dad's birthday.

Walking together to mark what would have been Dad's 65th birthday was a surreal moment. A moment to reunite for our family, after a tough year of grieving amongst everything else. Ending with a picnic in the sun, something Dad would have made sure we did. A palliative journey of 10 months post diagnosis during the pandemic was the hardest battle. Not only were we restricted on seeing Dad, but he also lost out on being close to his family and friends who gave him strength during his journey.

I was unable to see my Dad regularly through being redeployed to work with Covid patients and would drive from London to Walsall at any given opportunity. We would sit in the garden and wear masks, which was really upsetting for Dad, but I just couldn't risk bringing the virus into the house. A whole round evening road trip in five hours to make his last birthday special will truly be a lasting memory.

My Dad was a very proud Punjabi man, never speaking about any of his symptoms, and didn't do any of his FIT tests that came in the post. It was only shortly before his late diagnosis that he had shared he had lost his appetite and was needing to go the toilet more frequently. Sadly, we heard the dreadful news that Dad was palliative and only a week course of palliative radiotherapy could be offered, which he refused. Dad's tumour had been there for a very long time, lying there undetected and was the size of a fist. He deteriorated quite quickly after his diagnosis but we managed to grant him his last wish of seeing his final son get married and reuniting with his brother and sister in India. Sadly, Dad passed away in August 2020.

We wanted to mark Dad's first birthday since his passing and that's why we decided to take part in Walk Together. The whole family came along and we raised almost £3000 for the charity. We drew some attention in Cannock Chase on the day of our walk as a very lovely man kindly donated to our cause after noticing our t-shirts. He told us that his family have unfortunately been closely affected by bowel cancer. To that very kind man (he didn't mention his name), we will keep your family in our prayers. We hope to make Walk Together our annual way to mark Dad's birthday.

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