I want to thank everybody who has up to now kindly donated to our 2018 charity fundraising event for Brain tumour research charity
However, the other night i thought, its hard for people to donate towards something they a) might not have any knowledge about and b) know nothing about the person they are donating in memory of. So I decided to write this blog and tell you ‘Who Rik Is’.
Rik was 49, a larger than life character to say the least… i can honestly say once you met him… you’d never forget him! He was a joker, he never took life too seriously… I’d go as far to say that anyone that ever met him would have at least one story to tell!
He was my big brother, the middle child, me being the youngest and my sister being the eldest.
He had a crazy sense of humour…
Rik when he was out wedding shopping with his daughter!
To give you an idea of his humour…here are a few snaphots from his facebook page…
He wore weird things… with pride!!!
He was a keen cyclist
He was a great pool player and was part of the Polish Club pool team.
These photos were taken on his 50th birthday exactly 1 month before he passed away…
He loved his greek holidays
He had no fear trying the most outrageous of foods…
His favourite food was greek food & favourite place to eat was Yamas meze & tapas in nottingham
But in the end, it was the chicken feet that became his favourite delicacy, due to his findings that showed their immense nutritional value…
He had this laugh… that bloomin infectious laugh… well, that carries on with his son now having the same infectious laugh!
And talk, by goodness, he could talk! But in the months following his prognosis, i loved listening to him tell us his latest findings about cancer, the newest revelations and the latest conspiracy theories around this dreadful disease. And guess what… your daughter has the same trait, oh yes, she can talk!
He was clever…VERY intelligent and guess what… a great trait he passed on to his two ‘ little creatures’ as he used to call them.
But wait just there… he wasnt an angel sent down from up above! At times, he was a bloomin pain in the arse aswell! (But arent we all!??!)
He could put his hand to anything, plumbing, building, joinery, he was an electrician by trade, but worked as a security engineer in the latter years.
He had always suffered with headaches… took after my mum who suffered for years with migraines. But he had been getting more & more severe headaches.
He went to the Dr who told him he had a migraine. But shortly after… another headache… but this headache was bad, infact it was so bad, that he took himself off to the A & E department at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham. It was here that scans showed that he had lung cancer and secondary brain tumours.
It was devastating… but he was strong… he was going to fight it all the way. But then another blow… his prognosis…. they gave him 3 months to live.
The devastation him & his girlfiend must have felt when they heard those words are inconceivable. The devastation tore through our family… our immediate family… our extended family & all our friends. Devastation… the ugly dirty fear that engulfs you and everyone concerned. No one could believe it, as people always say, it really was (and still is) surreal.
Rik listened, his response was simple… he WAS going to beat this dirty disease!
From then on… NEVER did any ‘what if’s’ leave his mouth… only the ‘I will’s’!
He WAS going to beat it & that was that!
He changed his whole lifestyle… the thing is, those that knew Rik, know that any research that he undertook, and i mean for anything, could take weeks or months. A simple task of buying a sofa or a hoover, could take many many weeks or months of research. (I guess its a trait we learnt from our dad… as im the same!)
I cant even put into words the research he undertook into this deadly disease. He would be up most nights on his computer trying to find answers, trying to find cures. He uncovered a lot infact, things which i have since took on board to try and keep my family as healthy as possible. His positivity was astounding. What he didnt know about cancer… wasnt worth knowing about.
Having two young children aged just 9 at the time, him & his girlfiriend decided to tie the knot.
He was doing so well, he managed to come off the morphine totally at one point and reduce his steroids right down to a minimum. His findings & change of lifestyle seemed to be working.
The special day came on Boxing Day 2016… well, what can I say…
Rik & his beautiful bride Zoe & his 2 perfect children…
Rik & Mum…
Rik, Zoe & Dad…
He was almost 2 months into his 3 month prognosis when he got married & doesnt he look well!
The 6th of february was looming fast, this date had even more of an impact on Riks determination. This was the 3 month marker from the day of prognosis & he made it!
I honestly cant explain to you his determination and his immense positivity that he would beat this disease!
Things were going well but slowly each month he would end up in hospital having had funny turns. His scans however showed the tumours were the same, they hadnt improved but hadnt got any worse… his research & lifestyle change seemed to be working and keeping it at bay!
He told me once he would be happy and could cope if the tumours just stayed the same and didnt get any bigger.
The next milestome was Riks 50th birthday – May 28th- that was almost 7 months from the date of his prognosis.
We organised a party… it was great…all of Riks family & friends came. By now the high dose of steroids that he was having to take unfortunately caused a lot of swelling/ water retention as a side effect. It was a struggle to get his clothes on… i remember it well… a crisp black shirt, jeans & his fancy brown boots. His legs were so swollen, we told him to put some flip flops on or something more comfortable, but as proud as he was… he WAS getting those boots on for the evening!!!
One of my favourite photographs – my sister, Rik & me
The pool team at Riks 50th…
Family & friends…
Rik & his best friend…
Notice something in all the photos? That’s the laugh i was talking about earlier. It wasnt just for the photos you know, he had a grin on his face all night, even though he was in pain, he enjoyed every minute!
That was the 28th May…
Exactly one month after his 50th, he passed away. The 28th of June, my sisters birthday to be exact. Its difficult now for her to celebrate her own birthday on the day she lost her one and only brother.
He’d had a funny turn again, he collapsed, it was a blood clot in his lung that caused it this time, but this time it felt different. I just felt that he might not be leaving the hospital again, unfortunately i was right.
It was tuesday his health had rapidly deteriorated through the night before and he was struggling to breathe. In the early hours of Tuesday morning his consultant said had told us there was nothing more they could do for him. He was dying. Because he got to know Rik & his determination, he said it could be a slow process due to his sheer fight.
All his close friends and family came to visit him on that day, he was surrounded by love all day. Struggling to breathe, he was non- responsive all day, that is until his two ‘little creatures’ went to see him. As they sat on the bed with him, with a struggle he raised his arm towards them…
Sadly in the evening he took his last breath. His wife, good friend, me & my husband were all there with him. I will NEVER forget that night as long as i live…
In the end, i guess it wasnt the brain tumour that actually killed him, it was the blood clot, but the high dose of steroids he was on to reduce the inflamation in the brain and all the side effects were weakening him day by day. It might of just been a matter of time till the cancer in the brain terminated his life.
I am and always will be truly inspired by how he handled those last few months of his life. A lot of people would have felt down, depressed and possibly given up with the prognosis that he received, but not Rik!
His research, all the new knowledge he learnt about cancer has been so many peoples gain but we need to know MORE.
Rik spent so much time & energy in the last months of his life trawling the internet for facts, statistics, new research, latest treatments, cures etc for cancer. Rik was good at most things, but really, cancer wasnt his thing. It wasn’t his speciality and time was definitely against him. This is why I’m raising money in support of the Brain tumour research charity
More research into this deadly disease is urgently needed.
Did you know brain tumours kill more children & adults under the age of 40 THAN ANY OTHER CANCER!
However, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease!
This is where their knowledge lies, this is their speciality… we can help save lives with your help.
Please support us by donating towards our fundraiser, however little you think it might be… it all adds up!
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Rik… I know we did for 50 years.
We miss you so much Rik