“Oh no not that really nice little chubby man “
Seth would have thought that description of him was funny and he may well have paraphrased it into something that was not so polite. Seth was a realist.
Love, determination, commitment, wanting to do something to help others or doing something in honour of a loved one, a friend or a colleague, these are the things that drive people to raise money for charity
My fundraising for Pancreatic Cancer UK was driven by all these things, but the genesis came from 800 people who worked at a utilities company where Seth worked too.
People who had known for at least 12 months that their jobs were being outsourced to India. They were all being made redundant at the end of June 2014.
Seth was one of the 800 people affected and Seth’s demeanour changed about 9 months before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer around the time that the redundancies were confirmed.
I had noticed over a period of months, he became more serious, very intense and often quite terse, a big change from the normally fun loving, laid back, chilled out, innately funny man he was. I assumed that the change was because he was being made redundant. Every now and again I would think to myself “what’s happening? this really isn’t like Seth”.
Little did I know that pancreatic cancer was growing in the cells in the tail of his pancreas and that his mood change was due to a lack of insulin. People diagnosed with cancer of the tail of the pancreas often encounter these unrecognised symptoms and you need to be aware of these symptoms, along with pre diabetes or new onset diabetes without weight gain as they could indicate the presence of pancreatic cancer.
Seth was diagnosed on the 13th May 2014 and a few days later we let his managers at work know.
When breaking the news, they took special care of Seth’s close friends talking to them individually and supporting them after the shock and the realisation of Seth’s impending death.
Others not so close to Seth within the company were told of the diagnosis and that’s where the reference to the “really nice little chubby man” came from.
The day before Seth died, three of his friends from work came to see him. I had propped Seth up in bed dressed him in best shorts and tee shirt and tried to disguise the equipment and paraphernalia of dying so Seth looked as “normal” as possible. They arrived at 2pm for afternoon visiting, they bounded in with gifts and cards, but the most important gifts for Seth were the banter, mickey taking and jokes.
They treated Seth in the way they always had. They didn’t see a dying man they saw their wonderful, kind, funny friend who happened to be dying.
I left them alone and when I came back two hours later they were still laughing and joking. Seth had such a wonderful last afternoon with people who were his friends, I could feel the joy in the room but there was also such great sadness.
Seth died the next morning but that last night he asked me to read all the entries in the wonderful card they had printed for him.
His friends had told me of the fundraising, but I didn’t tell Seth as it would not have sat well with him. He died without knowing what everyone had done, but I know that was absolutely the right decision. I knew Seth too well and I didn’t want to upset him.
After the funeral Bill, Seth’s manager came to see me and gave me £2,500 that was raised on the day.
He said it was for me to do what I wanted with it, a holiday… something for the house. Hearing about the day and how all those people who were facing redundancy had put aside their own worries and fears about the future, it was an easy decision to make. I would donate the money to Pancreatic Cancer UK and some of the money went the The Dove Service the local bereavement counselling service who had supported me in the short weeks after Seth was diagnosed.
Afterwards I was thinking about all those people who had selflessly donated to Something 4 Seth day and that’s when I decided I would try and raise £1,000 for each year of Seth’s life and the rest as they say is history.
By November 2019 the target will be achieved and exceeded.
I am so proud of the achievement, so grateful to every single person who helped, donated, bought pottery, ran races, did bikes rides, jumped out of planes or come along to a fundraising event.
So, this year in November in pancreatic cancer awareness month I am asking if YOU can do SOMETHING 4 SETH to raise awareness of this dreadful disease.
I loved that “really nice chubby little man” with all my heart and I always will.