Danny Awin, 59 from Westcliff on sea tells us about how the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity helped him when he needed it the most.
I was 34 when I fell in love; her name was Amanda and I had been called out to her home as her electrics had blown. I was a builder by trade but would take on little odd jobs here and there to make ends meet. She tried to pay me at the end but I wouldn’t take any money; “buy me a bottle of scotch or let me take you out to the Cricketers pub for a drink instead” I asked playfully. She agreed to the date and the rest as they say is history!
Amanda and I were like two peas in a pod; best friends, we’d do everything together. She was my rock and our worlds revolved around each other. We moved in together and adopted 6 cats who were like our little babies; life was wonderful and we were as happy as could be.
It started with headaches, Amanda had been getting them for about a year but blamed the menopause. Strangely our cat Charlie had also sensed something was wrong. Subsequently she visited the doctors who took a good look into her eye; he didn’t like what he saw and immediately referred us to Southend Hospital. It was a brain tumour – treatment had to start urgently; radiation and chemotherapy. It was awful but we stayed strong together, we wouldn’t let the cancer beat us.
We first met Sylvia, a trained counsellor, at Southend Hospital. She came into our lives at just the right time when we needed to talk, to share our feelings, our fears. Sylvia then went to work at the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity Support Centre in Southend and continued to support us with free counselling throughout our cancer journey.
Meanwhile we had to stop all treatments as Amanda was getting major kidney and liver problems. We didn’t give up hope but knew now it would only be a matter of time. On 2nd November 2016, Amanda was resting in bed and I heard her gently call out to me. “I’m scared” she whispered. “I know” I said gripping her hand so tightly and stroking her hair. She slipped away that night at the age of just 49, we had been together for 23 years, my best friend had gone.
In the days after her death I spiralled into a deep depression, but just when it felt all hope was lost, Sylvia my guardian angel helped me come out the other side. It’s now been 2 years since Amanda’s death and I still think about her every day. I attend the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity Support Centre in Southend every month and Sylvia and I work on my mental health together; she has been invaluable as has the charity.
I’m always donating items to their charity shops and I even bought a washing machine for the Support Centre as the therapists were taking items home to wash! My future without Amanda is now looking so much brighter thanks to Sylvia; I’m still in touch with Amanda’s family who have helped me too. My advice to anyone going through something similar is ask for help; you are not alone and the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity will help you; I will be forever grateful to them.
If this article has raised any concerns then please contact your nearest Helen Rollason Cancer Charity Support Centre; you can find your nearest one by clicking here.