Craig’s Story – Told by daughter Josephine

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my Dad’s story… A little bit about him before his diagnosis; he was a chef and cake decorator. He had a love for dancing, fly fishing and all things crafty. If you could imagine it my Dad could make it. He was my Mums career when she was going through brain cancer from 2004 -2006. We lost Mum in 2006 and Dad became a stay at home Dad to us three kids while dealing with the grief himself. He never showed us how much he was hurting and made our childhood so memorable. He worked so hard picking up any job he could to support us, I’ve never felt like we missed out, I wish I could’ve repaid him for all he did for us. He spent his last 18 months after the diagnosis fulfilling as much of his bucket list as he could with his wife Jennie. She was a major support for him.

I would not wish this on any family, and hope these stories can help someone to have the courage to get tested.
My Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019 at the age of 55. He had been having symptoms for months but couldn’t get an appointment with the hospital for 6 months. On Christmas day 2018 he went into the emergency room of the Palmerston North Hospital because he was in excruciating pain, he could not sit down, he could not eat, he actually passed out in the emergency room from the pain. They still would not do a CT scan or colonoscopy because he had one booked in 2 months time. For 6 months he was in pain and getting worse and worse and the hospitals refused to do anything about it. He was sent home with pain relief. 2 months later he went in for the colonoscopy where they found a blockage in his bowel, and he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.

He then went through treatment, which saw multiple surgeries, radiation, unfunded medication which we raised money for through family and friends. The worst time came in 2020 when he had to be hospitalised quite a few times and since it was Covid Lock down times we went months without seeing him.

It was October 2020 when Dad passed away. He was not given a fair chance at fighting this Cancer but he fought anyway, everyday he embraced it with courage and put on a brave face. He was a constant reminder that not even the hardest things could get him down. He bought life and joy into every room he walked into, and he will constantly be remembered as such. He is missed and loved by so many.

I’m now continuing his journey of raising awareness of bowel cancer and the importance of getting checked. My dad was the reason I started my degree of health promotion, and he is the reason I advocate everyday for New Zealanders rights to accessible health care. ”