A COUPLE have expressed their heartfelt thanks to more than 1,500 people who helped fund £30,000 cancer treatment. Richard Owen, 43 from Upper Tean, was told last month that the NHS could do no more for him after a four year battle with the disease. But, determined to continue the fight with the help of his wife, Siân Morgan-Owen and step-daughter Alannah, Richard sought help from the private medical sector, where he was told he could be eligible for state-of-the-art ‘cyberknife’ treatment or ‘Selective Internal Raditation Therapy (SIRT).
Richard, who is originally from Newcastle-under-Lyme, was first diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer with liver metastasis in October 2014 at the age of just 39.
After gruelling chemotherapy and surgery to remove 60 per cent of his liver, his gallbladder and later, part of his bowel, Richard went into remission.
In July 2016, he and then partner, Siân, took a group of family and friends to Cyprus where they were married.
The couple asked for donations in lieu of gifts and later that year, Richard took on a run for Bowel Cancer UK. The two events raised more than £2,500 for the charity.
After almost 12 months clear in October 2016, the couple were given the devastating news that the cancer was back with metastasis in the liver again and now in both lungs.
Richard was immediately put back on to chemotherapy with more surgery planned to tackle cancer discovered in his peritoneum – the lining of the abdomen which protects internal organs.
Siân, who is self-employed and works as clerk to Checkley Parish Council, said: “Richard spent our first wedding anniversary having major surgery on both his lungs, but he managed the surgeries like a trooper.”
In October last year, an emergency operation was needed to remove another part of his bowel due to a blockage.
Siân said: “It was then back on chemo and after six sessions the cancer had grown slightly in his liver so a different chemo was tried over another six sessions.
“A further PET scan showed the liver metastasis had grown again but only slightly however the liver surgeons now said he wouldn’t be viable for surgery.
“We were told the catastrophic news that it could be time to prepare for the worst as avenues had been exhausted and you can only be on chemo for so long.
“Richard is my soulmate, my hero, my rock, how do you prepare to lose such a huge, important part of your life? “We were supposed to grow old together, we used to talk about retirement and grandchildren.
“He’s a fantastic husband and a fabulous step-father to my daughter.
“She never knew her own father because he died in a tragic accident the day after she was born.
“Richard gallantly decided he’s not ready to give up yet and even though he has been through so much he’s still got so much fight in him.
“He’s doing it for himself, for me, our daughter and our family – especially his mum because no mother should have to bury their child – and friends, who have all already been so supportive over the last four years.”
In July, the couple paid for a private consultation with a professor and were amazed to learn that new cutting edge techniques – costing £30,000 – could offer a ray of hope.
The pair were given a generous £10,000 donation towards the cost of the SIRT treatment and set up an online giving page to try to raise the rest.
Within 10 days, 1,566 supporters online had raised £24,386 for Richard.
Siân said: “Everyone has been amazing and we can’t believe how generous people have been – it’s genuinely overwhelming.
“We never imagined we would reach our target and then some.
“It look like we are going to have to find more funds as Richard is also in need of radiotherapy on his side at an additional cost to what we initially thought and he may need the cyberknife treatment further down the line too.”
Now, the couple are preparing to travel to London to prepare for the potentially life-saving treatment.
Richard said: “When Siân suggested crowdfunding I was sceptical, after all who would donate to save little old me?
“She pointed out that even if we raise a couple of hundred pound then that will help towards train fares, or a consultation fee.
“I know that once Siân sets her mind to something there’s generally no stopping her, so I agreed.
“It was difficult for us both, as we are quite private people and having everything hung out there warts an’all for all to see was a shock, but the response we have had from family, friends, colleagues and complete strangers has been totally overwhelming.
“Siân created the crowdfunding page the day after we’d seen the consultant in London but it took two days for it to be approved, so the evening of August 3 it finally went live and Siân spent hours posting it, thanking people personally and within a couple of hours we were already on a few hundred pound.
“Then over that weekend it just went nuts, thanks to Jason Manford nominating us on his FB Page as his charity of the week.
“Total strangers were donating a few quid and wishing me all the best, it’s been amazing.
“I am so grateful that people took the time to read my story, wish me luck and also donate, every penny is so important.
“We’ve even had people donating more than once.
“I’m so determined to fight this, not just for my family but for everyone who has donated, for all of those currently fighting and especially those who have sadly lost their fight.
“Thank you all and a huge thank you to my family and friends and especial my amazing wife Siân who has been there at every step over the last four years, got people behind the crowdfunding page and pestered the hell out of Jason Manford for his support.”
We are the only family run, independent newspaper and magazine business in Staffordshire, established 1896. We are home to three weekly newspapers – The Cheadle and Tean Times (aka The Stunner), The Uttoxeter Echo and The Leek & Moorlands Echo.
We also produce Peeps into the Past, a bi-monthly nostalgic glimpse into our photographic archives, and three bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazines – Stone and Eccleshall Life, Leek Life and Newcastle Life.
T. 01538 752214 or 753162
18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Staffs ST10 1BD
5 Church Street, Uttoxeter, Staffs ST14 8AG
(Uttoxeter Office is a postal address only)
Other useful contacts:
CURRENT OPENING TIMES
Mon & Tues 9am-11am