September 23, 2016
Before his devastating cancer diagnosis, 27 year old Ian, from Kilmarnock was leading a normal life. Ian wrote to us shortly after his Special Day to tell us what it meant to him and his family.
“I worked hard at my job and didn’t worry too much about what was ahead of me. I felt lucky that I had a job I liked and enough money to go on holidays each year and not really much to worry about in life.
Life has now changed a lot; I have to plan everything around hospital appointments and my family finds it hard to see what I am going through. Even though I try to make sure I am fit enough after treatments to get back to living a better life and I try not to just sit about feeling down, my family can still see the effects it has on me even though I try be strong.
My Special Day was watching Arsenal vs Watford in the FA Cup quarter final, with my girlfriend, Nicola. The day was perfect, we were taken to the stadium in plenty of time so that we could watch the players arrive by bus – getting to see the players up close and also having a lot of time with Arsenal’s mascot, Goonasuraus, was an added bonus. Willow even arranged for us to watch the match from the Director’s box at the Emirates Stadium, which was an experience I will never forget – from the delicious food to the best view in the house, we were really looked after and made to feel special. I am so thankful to Willow for this once in a lifetime chance to watch Arsenal the way I did.
Since having my Special Day, my outlook on life has also changed. Now I don’t take things for granted. If I want to do an activity I will try and get out there and do it. Like visiting places I haven’t been before and taking on challenges I’ve always wanted to do.
The thing I gained most from my Special Day was escapism. I enjoyed my day greatly; I forgot all about my illness and enjoyed the day. It helped me to remember that there are still great things in life.
Having my Special Day to look forward to helped me to keep positive and fit. I think that it also helped my family to see me so happy. What Willow does is amazing. I will always remember my Special Day at Arsenal, I had the best time and I hope that when I am well enough that I can do some fundraising, so that others in the same situation as myself can experience a Special Day.”
Sadly Ian lost his battle with Cancer in August this year, not long after his Special Day. One of his main aims was to help make it possible for more young families to experience a Special Day and make memories just like he did.
Ian may no longer be with us, but his friends and family are fighting to keep his wishes and legacy alive. Ian’s amazing wife Nicola, with the support of close friends Heather and Barry are making Ian’s wish come true. They are holding a Black Tie Ball on the 30th September in the memory of Ian, with all proceeds going to Willow.
This event inspired by one man’s wish to make life a little brighter for others will help us to provide more Special Days for seriously ill young adults across the UK.