Warrick’s Special Day

Warrick was diagnosed with a rare, incurable cancer at just 25 years old. After months of gruelling treatment, all he wanted was to spend quality time with his family, without the burden of his illness, and to simply feel normal again. Willow arranged for him, wife Lisa and their four-year-old son Kyan to spend a day together at Legoland. It was their last chance to create happy memories together.

One year on, his wife Lisa explains how having this Special Day has left a lasting impact on her and Kyan.

Warrick’s Special Day was our last chance
to create happy memories together.

Before Warrick was diagnosed we were just a ‘normal’ family, we got married the previous year and had a two-year-old son. We were making plans for the future: to move house and have another baby. Warrick had recently started a new job which we hoped would be a great step in his career. Looking back now, our lives were perfect.

Then, in October 2014, Warrick was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of soft tissue cancer. After numerous scans and tests we were given the devastating news that it had already spread to his lungs and told it was incurable. Our whole lives were turned upside down but Warrick was so positive. He said he just wanted to make as many memories with us as possible. He started treatment straight away and went through 11 cycles of chemotherapy and then 25 fractions of radiotherapy to help prolong his life. The treatment was really tough on him and his body but he never once complained and always kept a smile on his face. He was a true inspiration throughout his battle; he was selfless, brave and the best husband and daddy we could have asked for. Even through all the pain he still put Kyan and me first.

We first heard about Willow through our support nurse. She knew that making memories was important to us so she filled in the paperwork and told us to wait to hear back… When we got the phone call from Willow to say we were able to have our Special Day we were so excited, especially as we just had received the news that Warrick’s cancer was becoming more aggressive. It felt really good to have a phone call with some positive news for a change. We were all so grateful to have the opportunity to go on a Special Day. Making memories was the most important thing to do once we’d been told Warrick’s cancer was terminal and the chemotherapy was no longer having an effect.

We hoped the trip would give us a chance to feel like a family again, to spend some quality time together away from hospital. Once we had made the decision to go to Legoland we told Kyan, who was then three years old. He was extremely excited as he was Lego mad. Warrick and Kyan would spend hours together building different Lego structures so it felt the right place to choose.

Our Special Day was simply amazing. Warrick had been feeling quite poorly in the days leading up to the trip but once the day arrived he picked up and was full of energy. We had a great time together, Warrick was able to take Kyan on all of the rides and we took lots of photographs. It felt like we smiled from the second we arrived and for the first time, in a long time, life felt ‘normal’.

The trip has given Kyan and me memories to cherish for a lifetime. We made a video of all the photographs that we took and we enjoy snuggling on the sofa and watching it together. It is extremely tough on us trying to adapt to our lives without Warrick, but having special memories like the ones we made at Legoland help us through.

I feel so grateful to Willow for giving us that opportunity, the charity is very special to me and it was to Warrick as well. I aim to support Willow by raising money to help other families be able to enjoy Special Days together. I recently ran a 10k in Warrick’s memory, raising £200 for Willow and I am already planning other events to help support Willow to provide more Special Days like ours.

Warrick’s story features in our BBC Radio 4 Appeal, aired on Sunday 19 February. Listen again or donate now to help make more days like Warrick’s a reality. Thank you.