David & Eileen

David had been living with cancer since 2001. He said his (now adult) children had spent much of their childhood with a Dad who was unwell - and obviously this also had an effect on the family’s finances, but they had struggled on. Then in 2013 with his cancer spreading to his bones and liver he was diagnosed as terminal. David wanted to spend some quality time with his wife Eileen as she had been such a rock throughout his illness; also, as he was no longer able to do much around the house, he was keen to give Eileen a well-deserved break. A cruise to the Norwegian Fjords, courtesy of 4 Cancer and Fred. Olsen, was what they chose to book; David said, “I can’t believe this might be happening, it feels like a dream!”

David had been told by his consultant that they should book their break sooner rather than later, but they were totally unprepared for the news, received just before they sailed, that his cancer had progressed much quicker than predicted and that his life expectancy was reduced from a couple of years to just a few weeks, even though he still felt relatively well.

When they returned from their cruise, David told 4 Cancer their sad news: “As you can imagine we were both devastated, and in a state of shock. The one thing that kept us going was the thought of getting away. The break allowed us to have those horrible conversations in private and rest and relax to take things in. So once again, thank you so much for what you and your amazing charity gave us.”

A little later in the year, Eileen’s sister got in touch with 4 Cancer to say: “I thought you would like to know that David became very unwell a few weeks ago, and is now receiving end of life care in a hospice. Eileen was telling me today just how grateful they were to have had such a lovely time together on their first ever cruise, and how they had discussed David's final wishes in the peaceful environment away from the bustle of everyday family life. The timing and the tranquillity was perfect. She will remember that trip for ever.”

Not every story can have a happy ending, but it is heart-warming to know that this cruise gave the couple a chance to say a proper goodbye in a beautiful relaxed setting.

This is a true story but the names and some minor details have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals concerned

© 4 Cancer Group 2018