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  • Earlier this year my father, Colin Buckland was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer known as “Adenocarcinoma of the rete testis”. According to his doctor there has only been 44 documented cases of this particular cancer before, anywhere in the world.

    This is a story I’ve wanted to write for a while now but I have found it hard to find the words and energy that would express how I feel and what is going on. However it is a story worth sharing and I would be a hypocrite doing the work I do with charities and vulnerable people if I was not willing to share my own stories.

    At the beginning of two thousand and twelve, after a terrible Christmas period worrying about my nephew who was suffering from meningitis, my family and I were certainly ready for some good news. As the New Year came I remember thinking to myself, I don’t want this year to be like the last. I will make the most of it. For a month or two things started going well. I met some interesting people through my online profiles, which I’d decided to spend far more time on in the coming months, and my father was back at work, this time his charity sent him out to Singapore for a few weeks.

    My father works in 15 countries a year providing training, consultancy, counseling and resources to charitable organisations, missions and community leaders. He’d been doing this work for approximately 20 years now, having worked in 27 countries over all. This time however the trip seemed to have taken more out of him then they would normally. Upon his return to the UK he visited our local doctor who believed my father had an infection and prescribed him a course of pills. A number of weeks passed and my father had to visit the doctor again as the pills seemed to have no effect. In fact he was feeling worse. The doctor again gave him more pills and sent him on his way. More weeks passed and my father was regularly in touch with the doctor’s surgery to say nothing was getting better; in fact it was quite the opposite. Eventually the doctor decided to check my father for cancer. He had previously ruled this out but as he couldn’t work out the problem they thought they better check.
    Turns out the worst was true, not only did he have cancer it had now spread to his lymph nodes. The doctor’s prognoses, he had a few months to a couple of years at best to live.

    I remember when I first heard from my parents what the results were. I couldn’t believe it. The doctor must have got it wrong as he’d already ruled out cancer.

    It took time to get my father his first chemo session, which is normal in the UK. Of course during this wait there is nothing stopping the cancer from growing. The first dose of chemo they gave my father made him worse, it stopped him breathing properly and ultimately help damage his internal organs so much so one night he was rushed into hospital and told he may not live through the operation they had to give him. I won’t go into detail for his sake but lets just say it was a big one.

    As my father entered the operation room he thought to himself, “I’m not dying today” the next thing he knew he was waking up and the first thing he said was, “see I didn’t die”

    He spent the next few weeks doped up on morphine and a cocktail of other drugs in the hospital and every day my mother, siblings and I would visit. It was then I realised that my father was dying.

    I was furious! He had spent his entire life helping, protecting and supporting others and here he was just 60 years old holding on to life one minute at a time. My father was a policeman, before becoming a pastor of inner city churches in the UK and now the director of an international charity. If any man deserved to grow old gracefully and enjoy his sunset years surely it was him?
    Looking back at it now I know my reaction was wrong but for the next few weeks anything people said about him made me angry, “how could people have taken up his time with their problems, now he has no time left to be with his family”. What made it worse was both my parents often go without their wages or at least part of them due to the work they do with their charity. People aren’t asked to pay, as many of them wouldn’t be able to afford to, instead they are asked to donate if they can and if they can’t then not to worry about it. This made these people easy targets for my frustration and I started blaming them for not being able to get my father the support he needs.

    Ultimately however it is none of these peoples fault and my reaction, fueled by hurt, was a selfish one. I am proud of the work he has done. If it wasn’t for his unselfish nature and drive for helping others I know I wouldn’t be following the path I do today. I can see traits from my father in my siblings and myself and we would not want to lose them at any cost and I definitely wouldn’t change him and the good work he has done. So I guess I should say sorry to those I was angry at, you may not have known my thoughts and feelings on the matter but it was wrong of me to be angry with you.

    In fact many of these people have now been a great support to my family. Two separate friends to my parents told them about a Doctor Mark Rosenberg who runs an alternative cancer treatment clinic. The UK doctors have told my family that there isn’t anything they can do to save my father, the chemo they are giving him will hopefully prolong his time with us but not stop it. However Dr. Rosenberg has had great success with even stage four cancer sufferers by working out what started the cancer growing in the first place and how to manipulate the environment the cancer lives in so it can’t feed and dies. This treatment is still very new but is having some great results.

    For the last month or so I’ve been using my media content producer abilities to run an indiegogo campaign to try and raise the money we need to get my father treatment by Dr. Rosenberg. So far we have raise 45% of the money, much of which has come from the families my father has worked with over the years. The care they have shown him has been amazing and my father regularly tells me how grateful he is at the support people have shown. He is about to come to the end of his chemo treatment here in the UK and at the end of November if we reach our target we will be planning his trip to the USA based clinic.

    I don’t want to turn this story into an advert but if anyone wants to find out more about the campaign or is interested in supporting then please search for Colin Buckland on the indiegogo site.
    Or visit http://igg.me/p/241819?a=594268

    We are months on from when we first heard my father has cancer; he’s out lived the worst-case scenarios and remains in high spirits despite the pressure. On Friday he goes for a scan and hopefully we will hear results of this first bout of chemo. There of course is a part of us all that is worried but there is also a part of me that knows with the support from others this is something he and us as a family can over come. The nephew that I mentioned at the beginning of this story, despite spending the Christmas period paralyzed from the neck down and having both meningitis and encephalitis resulting in brain damage, is now back to full health. The brain damage is no longer showing up on scans and doctors are stunned. People that meet him now wouldn’t know he was ever ill. We will keep fighting until the same can be said about my father.
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