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Cancer took my favourite Red

Dad with Dolphin BalloonFor those of you who know me personally, or know me closely, you’ll be aware that late last year my Manchester United loving Dad, Pete, passed away just before Christmas after a short fight with brain cancer.

Pete was 67. An avid United fan, season ticket holder, husband, father of two boys and an absolutely doting Grandfather to three grandchildren including my young son, Alex.

Now United have sealed their record extending 20th league title, I’d like to ask for your help raising £1,999 for MacMillan (Cancer Support) as I run the BUPA: Great Manchester Run next month.

During Dad’s fight with his sudden illness, I created a JustGiving page where, if you’re in a position to do so, you can contribute by sponsoring me to run the 10Km event which passes Old Trafford on the day that marks 14 years since United won the treble, hence the target figure of £1,999.

Pete had been suffering from a mild, unexplained, energy sapping illness for a few months before Mum recognised one-or-two signs he could have recently suffered a stroke. From that day in September, what was originally diagnosed as exhaustion by his GP, quickly became far more serious.

In the summer Dad was tired but he seemed his usual self, able to work full-time, capable of DIY, still going to Old Trafford and looking forward to his retirement next year. But in October Dad’s health visibly went backwards rather than recovering from his stroke. Then came the dramatic turning point, Dad required a biopsy on a ‘mass’ which had been missed in a previous scan.

Everyone feared the worst but remained positive, Dad was still Dad at that point, sat up in bed making conversation, wanting to go home and more concerned about United’s results rather than his own!

Such is life nowadays; I took to Google prior to a meeting with the Oncology team which gave me just enough knowledge to know the possible scenarios. Unfortunately, and with Dad out of earshot, the heartbreaking news I dreaded was confirmed.

Dad had the worst kind of tumour possible, Glioblastoma Multiforme. It was deep within the brain therefore inoperable, and it was aggressive. Anything but that and we had a chance, this however was only ever going to end in pain, it was just a matter of how much, and for how long.

The prognosis was simple. 3-4 months without treatment or eighteen months with radiation and chemo’ therapy. The ruthless disease snatched Dad away within the four months as it was left untreated due to Dad’s inability to deal with a catalogue of infections thanks to a pre-existing heart condition, diabetes and a faulty catheter which led to a blood transfusion that stole any chance his immune system had of dealing with the bacteria. Dad just couldn’t get himself well enough to receive the treatment required to fight the cancer.

Slowly but surely Dad began to lose his fight while he was compassionately and devotedly cared for by Mum who spent every second of the time by his side. I can’t imagine how anxious and frightening it must be for someone who doesn’t have the support from someone like Mum must feel when faced with such an ordeal, she was throughout, and always will be, an amazing person. Had it not been for Mum he would have been left uncared for by NHS staff who basically wrote him off and left him for dead.

In mid-December the time came for Dad to be temporarily transferred (Mum wasn’t going to let him die in a shabby, forgotten about corner of an old hospital wing) from hospital to a specialist hospice before going home to receive the care he needed from MacMillan, sadly Dad never made it home. The one-hour ambulance journey took more out of Dad than anyone could have foreseen, no way was he going through another journey no matter how short, he just wasn’t well enough. I was lucky enough to meet Dad as he arrived there, I was lucky enough to hold his hand and comfort him to his hospice room where three days later he would pass away.

Those three days were the hardest three days of my life without question, but I dare say they were nothing in comparison to the three days Dad spent there or the previous four months he’d spent shifting from one hospital bed to another enduring test after test. He just wanted to go home.

On the 14th December 2012 Pete passed away. His burial was exceptionally well attended a week later.

Paddy CrerandSupporting United meant everything to my Dad, he followed the boys home and away for many years during the 70’s and 80’s then began taking me and my brother to alternate home games and he never went to a game without his United underwear on! Later in life Dad couldn’t resist the lure of the Megastore to buy gifts for his Grandkids and he always had to have a programme!

Despite those around him growing evermore disenchanted with the way the game was going, Dad embraced it and remained almost as biased and committed as Paddy Crerand. Crerand was a player Dad always claimed was “the best passer of the ball I’ve ever seen”.

What a great bloke, a great mate of mine and someone I wish I could speak to now to say “Dad, we did it”. He’d be having a great week. He introduced me to the game, he introduced me to the World, I miss him a lot, the entire family do.

I’m sure many of us know someone like Pete whether past or present and I know times are particularly hard at the minute but if you can, I’d really appreciate any donation regardless of size and I’d also appreciate your efforts to help me fundraise by tweeting this post, retweeting it and then sharing it with your Facebook Friends.

It’s dead simple to donate. You just head over to my JustGiving site, click donate and you’re met with a choice of how to donate a few quid be it by Debit/Credit Card or PayPal. It’s really easy.

I have a Facebook page here which is dedicated to the fundraising.

To find out more about the support they offer to patients diagnosed with cancer visit MacMillan here, they were fantastic with the whole family once Dad arrived at the hospice.

My official entry number for the race is 27937 and I’m aiming for a steady time under an hour. If you see me please shout your support, I’ll need all the encouragement I can get on what I know will be a very emotional day for me and my family.

My Twitter is @Rimmerstweets and @Red_Rants where I’ll be posting pictures and updates before and after the event to prove I ran the race and prove my time which will also be available online. I’m already 7% of the way there with £140.00 donated by just a handful of friends and family.

Click here for more information on The Great Manchester Run including the route from Deansgate to Spinningfield’s.

Thanks for reading this and thanks for your help.