My Dad died yesterday.
He was first diagnosed with Prostate cancer 7 years ago; it developed into secondary bone cancer around a year ago, and after a turbulent couple of weeks (in the last fortnight we were told that the cancer had spread rapidly and extensively, then he collapsed at home, the following day he was rushed by ambulance into hospital with concerns over his spine, I went with him to Clatterbridge last Friday and was told that he may only have 9 weeks or so left to live...and then yesterday rolled around), he died peacefully yesterday afternoon with my Mum and my Sister by his side.
Why am I posting this on SD? Let me explain....
I don't come from a farming/shooting/outdoorsy background or family. Both of my parents were born and raised in Warrington, a non-rural town in the NW of England. However - it was my Dad who, despite the better wishes of my Mum (and probably ground down a little thanks to the kind of mithering that only teenagers can do....) persuaded my Mum that I was in fact sensible enough to be bought an air-rifle as an early teenager. That ignited my passion for shooting, and now shooting & stalking represent a large part of what makes me who I am. Thanks to shooting I have been fortunate enough to gain a number of outstanding friendships - some of them are members on this site (and hopefully know who they are), some of them aren't - and so I owe my Dad a huge thank you for trusting me, encouraging me and indirectly facilitating some of the best friendships you could ever wish for.
I'm not posting this to fish for sympathy or to bare my soul - that's not really me. But my Dad was the kind of bloke who really would try and help whoever he could - and so if recent events can help someone else, I'll draw a positive from that.
FIRSTLY: if you, or anyone you know, is even remotely concerned that they may have symptoms of Prostate Cancer, then please go and get yourself checked out. This is an immensely hard post to write (...only a slight understatement...), but if doing so either directly or indirectly helps even one person avoid what my Dad went through, then that will be worthwhile as far as I'm concerned. I don't want his death to be in vain. (Link to info: http://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate...s-and-symptoms )
SECONDLY: I have done 'Movember' previously, including with Dad one year. I will definitely be doing it again this year to raise funds for research into Prostate Cancer. This is an unashamed heads-up that I'll be sticking a post on SD asking for sponsorship. Even if only a couple of you on here can throw a few bob in, that will be immensely appreciated and will make a positive contribution.
THIRDLY: Just take a moment to think about who introduced you to shooting/stalking.....Father, Brother, Mother, Friend, whoever....if you have had a fraction of the enjoyment out of the pastime that I've had over the years and have made friends through it in the same way that I have, then consider yourself a fortunate individual and take another few seconds to mutter a "Thank you" under your breath to that person.
This is me and my Dad, taken by my Brother about 14 months ago - this is how I'll remember him: