Carl and Catriona from Staffordshire have recently returned from a wonderful cruise courtesy of Fred Olsen and charity Sail 4 Cancer. Carl had nominated his wife Catriona for a week's cruise together "to bring a smile back to her face, as she has gone through so much sadness".
Carl's story began with a pulled calf muscle which didn't seem to heal, followed by a catalogue of misdiagnosis and delays, the end result being that by the time Carl's tumour was finally correctly diagnosed - a very rare soft tissue sarcoma - they were too late to save his leg. After amputation above the knee and a gruelling round of chemotherapy, operations and illness came the truly devastating news that the cancer had spread to his lungs, and despite subsequent operations to remove the tumours, they keep on recurring. This recurrence says Carl "is a massive blow to me but more for my wife and family. The heartache and stress caused by all that's going on is unbearable but we try to stay positive."
Once Carl had heard that his nomination was successful, he and Catriona chose the 7 night "Classic Norway" cruise, taking in fjords, glaciers, waterfalls, markets and mountain railways. His report of their trip is ecstatic. "What can I say? I'm speechless, what a fantastic break and wow the scenery was breathtaking!"
Probably the most important factor however was that it made them feel 'normal' for a change - something that many Sail 4 Cancer beneficiaries comment on. Once you have a cancer diagnosis suddenly everyone treats you differently and life is irrevocably altered somehow, especially in a situation like Carl's, where everything moved so rapidly from the everyday routine through to a terminal diagnosis. "We felt very at ease and relaxed and fitted in with everyone around, no questions, no cancer conversations; it was great to forget about home life," explains Carl, "It really did bring the smiles back to our faces and for once in a long time we forgot about life's troubles. We can't thank Sail 4 Cancer enough."