A father is encouraging men to lay down their razors and support a bowel cancer charity – after his son died at the age of 21.
Mac Walker, 68, from East Preston is supporting Bowel Cancer UK and it’s Decembeard campaign, to help people like his son Jonny who died from the disease.
Jonny was diagnosed with bowel cancer on his first day of studying music production at Northbook College 2012.
“Before this point, he had been feeling sick, he had agonising stomach cramps and lost a lot of weight,” said Mac.
“He had gone to see the GP repeatedly but they never thought it could be bowel cancer, he was told he might be diabetic or have Crohn’s.”
“I knew something was wrong when he was doubled up in agony and could hardly move.
“I insisted the hospital took Jonny in and by this point, he had been having difficulty eating anything and he was delirious.
“The medical team did some blood tests and a colonoscopy and found a cancerous tumour. Jonny was sent to the Royal Marsden in London, where he had over six hours of surgery, to remove the tumour.
“This was followed by chemotherapy and Jonny managed to carry on going to uni and playing in a band during this time.
“Jonny remained upbeat and had regular scans and believed he had beaten cancer, but then in 2014, the scans showed it had come back and it was inoperable. That was incredibly hard for us to deal with.
“But Jonny knew life was for living and made the most of it in his final days. He continued to play and write music and play in his bands.”
Jonny went to Amsterdam, proposed to his girlfriend of three years, Lizzie and finished his degree.
Mac said: “On the day he should have had his graduation ceremony, he was admitted to St Barnabas hospice Worthing. He passed away aged 21 less than two weeks later, in October 2014.”
Mac is now urging men to take part in the challenge to grow a beard during December and raise money to help save lives.
Every year, more than 41,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer and more than 16,000 people die of the disease.
Bowel Cancer UK is working to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by bowel cancer.
To join the challenge visit decembearduk.org
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