One in two people get cancer - but I lost both my parents

11th September 2023

When Adam lost his dad to pancreatic cancer in 2006, he was completely heartbroken. Suddenly his mum needed to become two parents in one – she was the glue that held the family together. But then their worlds fell apart again when she was diagnosed with cancer too.

Watch Adam's video

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"They say one in two people get cancer - for me, it was two."

It all started when I was in my final year of university. Until then, Dad and I did all the things that you think dads and sons typically enjoy doing together. We shared a love of the great outdoors - always climbing mountains or bagging munros.

But then, in November 2006, we lost him to pancreatic cancer. I was only 22, and Dad was just 54. But suddenly, he was gone.

I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone to talk to him - on good days and bad.

"When Dad died, Mum became two parents in one."

At such a difficult time for her, she put her focus on my sister, brother, and me – but never forgot the promises she made to Dad. She went on all the adventures they had planned and lived life to the full. She really was the glue that held us together.

Losing Dad was heartbreaking, but having Mum there kept everyone going – and everyone together. So, when Mum told us she had bowel cancer, our worlds fell apart. Again.

Mum passed away in 2015 at our family home. She too has missed so many special moments with her family. Mum and Dad weren’t only my parents, they were my best mates too. I would go to the ends of the earth to have them here, by my side just one last time.​

"Now I have my own little girl, Skye. I look at her and can’t help but wonder – will I miss her growing up, too?"

I want to see her build a life, follow her passions, and fall in love. All the things my parents missed. I want to be by her side long enough, to see her grow into the woman I know she can become. For Mum. For Dad. For Skye.

Your donations fund hours in the lab, hours that start new cures for cancer. Wishes aren’t enough to stop cancer and save the lives of the people you love. That’s why I’m supporting Worldwide Cancer Research to find and fund the pioneering ideas that start new cancer cures. 

Being a Curestarter is important to me because I'm helping other families avoid the pain I've been through. I want to give more families more time together - including my own.

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