Neil’s story – how your support helps people in Devon…

We recently received this touching letter from one of our valued guests and want to share Neil’s story with you to show the difference your support makes to people’s lives. Neil and family will also be spending some time in one of our luxury holiday homes at Sandy Bay soon.

Dear Jeff and all at Dream-A-Way,

I was diagnosed with cancer of the colon and secondary liver cancer in August aged 47 and given up to 12 months left to live, I am currently in my 9th month. Before the diagnosis, I had been planning to marry my partner Louise, 31, next February, but brought the wedding forward due to my consultant’s suggestion and possibility of the illness developing – we eventually got married in December 2016.

I met Louise for the first time three years ago when we were both working together. She has 2 children, a son aged 4 and a daughter, 6 and we have all had counselling at Force Cancer Charity to help with our feelings and explain my illness and forthcoming death to the children to help them understand. Our youngest randomly talks to people about me going to heaven and that I will be behind the clouds, but it will be okay because his mum has lots of pictures of me on her phone. I have been receiving chemo 3 days per week every other week for 9 months now and despite infections and illness, have managed to keep all my appointments but it’s beginning to take its strain.

It’s now about making memories with the kids and taking lots of photographs. Louise and I applied to Dream-A-Way as our counsellor at Force suggested it as the children had never been on a holiday abroad and we wanted to give them that opportunity before I become too ill to travel. We were successful with our grant application and travelled to Portugal in April for a wonderful all-inclusive week’s break. It was truly fantastic!

We have since decided that that would be my last holiday abroad as the travel takes too much out of me and makes me feel very tired. We were very nearly unable to travel as on the Sunday morning before our flight on Wednesday I was admitted to the RD&E cancer ward with a possible infection and stomach pain. They filled me with fluids and medication and I received chemotherapy and was discharged on the Tuesday afternoon so we could fly at 06:00 on Wednesday morning, arriving in a very hot Portugal at 08:30 where we enjoyed an amazing week together.

When I was given 9 to 12 months to live it was very difficult at first. I was and have been quite down and depressed but now I try to be positive for Louise, my family and the children. We still try to dance in the kitchen and laugh when possible – we love each other very much and are working through this together. I intend to carry on taking each day as it comes and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.

Thank you again from us all.