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It should have been one of us. - a personal story from Angela 

On Sunday 7 April 2024 Mason and I did the Te Omanga Hospice Charity Motorcycle Ride in Lower Hutt hosted by the Red Knights Motorcycle Club. This was not only to support another club who supports R.A.C. but we also have a personal connection to Te Omanga Hospice as this is the hospice my older brother was under during his year long battle with cancer.


Trevor passed away on 25 July 2012 at the age of 47 and I would like to pay tribute to him by sharing his cancer journey with our R.A.C. whanau.


Our family was a typical NZ family mum, dad, Trevor, me and a younger brother. Trevor was the ‘model child’, always did well at school and was a very keen sportsman representing Manawatu in tennis and badminton in his teenage years. Trevor left home straight out of school at the age of 17 as he was successful in a cadet programme to train as an Electrical Draughtsman which took him to different locations around New Zealand over a three-year period. After a few years of working in NZ Trevor embarked on his big OE where he ended up in London and met and married an Irish lass. Not long after, they returned home to Feilding to settle down and start a family with the arrival of a baby boy soon after. Due to work opportunities they decided to relocate to Maungaraki, Lower Hutt where they had a daughter with a 10 year gap between the two.


Trevor had continued to play sport and was a very active member of the Maungaraki Tennis Club until a New Years Eve back yard cricket game left him with a serious leg injury resulting in a permanent ‘drop foot’. He had a long recovery, but his determination finally allowed him to get back into playing social tennis.


In mid 2011 Trevor had been feeling unwell for a couple of months and visited his doctor on several occasions to be told he had a virus and just needed to let it take its course. Then he developed a lump on his forehead so off the doctor he went again. This time the doctor sent him for further investigation. I received a call from Trevor’s wife with the devastating news that the lump was a brain tumor and they knew it was a secondary cancer and would need to do further testing. She felt she could not tell our parents over the phone and asked if I could go and tell them which was one of the hardest things I have had to do as this is not the news any parent wants to receive about one of their children. Mason and I broke the news to mum and dad, and they headed straight down to Maungaraki.


Over the next couple of weeks further testing was done with the result being the primary cancer was lung cancer which had spread to multiple parts of his body. How could this be? We know lung cancer is normally associated to smoking and Trevor had never smoked in his life. This left me questioning how this could be as Trevor did not deserve this. He was a quiet, kind and gentle soul, never spoke an ill word about anyone. Both our parents, my younger brother and I had all smoked for years. It should have been one of us. 


There was no real treatment that Trevor could be offered, and he would be under palliative care with Te Omanga Hospice to keep him as comfortable as possible over the months ahead. He was told if he lived a year it would be a miracle. Mum and dad spent most of the next year living with Trevor and family to help where they could and of course to spend as much time as possible with Trevor. Mason and I took every opportunity over the next year spending weekends with the family. Trevor only spent one short period in Te Omanga Hospice, but the carers and nurses visited him at home every couple of days and provided invaluable care and support. My nephew and niece then aged 16 and 6 attended therapy sessions at Te Omanga to prepare them for what was ahead.


In the early months Trevor continued to work and dad would drive him into Wellington to work each day. Each day dad would watch Trevor cross the road to work and each week Trevor would become weaker and weaker and going to work would become more challenging. Trevor was determined to support the family for as long as he could, and his work were so supportive and over time let him slowly decrease work days and hours before it just became too much for him. 


It was such a heartbreaking journey for everyone who knew Trevor watching him slowly lose the battle with this cruel disease. As much as he tried a lot of the time he could not eat. I remember him coming to the table for tea and take one mouthful and that was it he was off again as he just could not keep it down. 


Our daughter was having her 21st in Palmerston North on 28 July 2012 and Trevor had decided he wanted to be there and felt well enough to make the journey. We arranged to have a big comfortable chair at the venue and the excitement was building. On 25 July 2012 I had just arrived at work and dad called to say Trevor had taken a turn for the worst and suggested we make our way to Maungaraki. I contacted Mason at work and we arrived home to collect our things and took some time to have a cuppa before hitting the road.

On our arrival mum and dad came out to meet us arm in arm and I knew straight away we were too late. Trevor had passed away 15 minutes earlier. I regret to this day stopping to have a cuppa before we hit the road. I could not believe after a year long battle the end came so quickly.


The family made a decision that the 21st should go ahead with most of us attending. Of course, many memories were shared and tributes paid to Trevor that evening. I dedicated a song to him - Hero by Whitney Houston. Trevor will always be my hero. He put up such a courageous battle and never showed any anger about the raw deal he had been dealt. 

We headed back to Maungaraki where Trevor had a great send off once family had arrived from Ireland. The Maungaraki Tennis Club have the Trevor Daly Memorial Pro Am tournament every year in memory of Trevor which is a great tribute to him and represents the love he had for sports particularly tennis.


‘Fuck Cancer’

 

If you need help or advice because of a cancer concern, be it yourself or a whanau member, please contact your local Cancer Society. They are there to help, but you need to make the first contact.


If you are a R.A.C member and just want to talk, reach out to your R.A.C whanau. We are there to listen and help where we can. No one should go through this journey alone.


For more information on where some of your donations go, here is another blog for you to read. https://www.racnz.co.nz/post/where-do-your-donations-go

                                                            






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