"Dad wanted to make sure everything was looked after"
After Paul was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, Marie Curie Nurses made it possible for him to stay at home in his final days. Paul's daughter, Charlie-Jade talks about what that support meant to their family, and how she coped when faced with the loss of her dad.
"The weekend before my dad died, I helped him do some online shopping. He ordered an iPad for Mum and had it engraved, and he showed me a Welsh dragon necklace in jade he was buying for me too, to represent our shared Welsh roots.
"It was only a few days later that Dad slipped into a coma. He died in the early hours of Monday 4 September 2012 and we were right there by his side at home, exactly as he wanted. Later that day, a delivery-man knocked on the door with all the presents my dad had bought for us the week before. Dad wanted to make sure everything was looked after.
He never gave up
"Dad had been diagnosed with cancer previously and he’d had it treated with chemotherapy, but in 2012 we learned that it had come back. After his scan, I remember my Mum calling me and I just said ‘Dad’s got terminal cancer hasn't he?’
"In April, the cancer became more aggressive. Dad said that he was going to fight it; he never gave up. I was studying at the London College of Music at the time, but I just had this feeling that I needed to be at home with him and Mum.
"In June, Dad went into hospital after a bad reaction to the chemotherapy. He came out just before my 20th birthday. We cuddled up on the sofa watching Pirates of the Caribbean 2, I remember that birthday so well. It was my last birthday with him.
Care at home
"Just after this, Dad went into a hospice for help with pain control. I remember talking Dad at the hospice about future things, like who was going to give me away at my wedding. It was one of the hardest conversations of my life.
"Dad knew that he wanted to be at home. It was tough; Mum and I were up all hours but then the Marie Curie Nurse would come round and go and sit with Dad so we could get some decent sleep. They came in and put us at ease and really helped us. It was not only that they knew what to say, they knew what not to say.
"After Dad died, I went into total denial and shut everything out. I was never very good at talking to people and opening up, and I ended up pretty ill and very weak. One person completely changed me for the better; my personal trainer, Tamaya. She showed me that looking after me was important too. Dad was always into fitness and running, and working with Tamaya made me feel like I’d connected with Dad again in some way.
Running in Dad's memory
"I recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, the conservatoire Dad knew I dreamed of. It was an incredibly intense year but with all of that, I still never forgot what Marie Curie did for us. Just after I graduated in 2015, I decided to take part in this year’s Bath Half Marathon in my dad’s memory, and to raise money for Marie Curie, and the people who helped make the end of Dad’s life dignified and comfortable.
"I wanted to do something that I’d never thought I could do and that would push me to my extreme, to reflect the strength of people living with a terminal illness and the work Marie Curie Nurses carry out every day.
"The marathon was really tough, especially the final three miles! I had Dad’s name written on my back, and as people were passing me they were saying how proud he would have been of me. It was great day with everyone being really supportive and cheering us on, and I’ve raised over £650 for Marie Curie so far."