Terminally ill woman vows to rock on
Given just two weeks to live in June this year, Auckland woman Chris Wykes says she will continue to hold out for a miracle.
It is hard to believe the Greenhithe woman has terminal cancer in almost every organ in her body.
But not one to dwell on her illness, Wykes, 61, is planning a fundraising concert, Rock the Hithe, on November 25 to repay Hospice North Shore.
"It's a way I can give back even though I may not be here."
The Greenhithe Lions Club, and in particular secretary Dave Cheetham, has been instrumental in securing a line-up of renowned blues and rock musicians including The Rumour, Judy Donaldson and Tom Sharplin.
Planning the event has been the distraction Wykes believed she needed to keep her going.
"I don't want to just be sitting here looking out the window feeling sick. This has been a way of taking my mind off myself," she said.
Wykes has even organised her own funeral with Va'aiga 'Inga the Winger' Tuigamala as the funeral director.
Diagnosed with advanced breast cancer nine years ago, Wykes underwent a mastectomy before enduring chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Told she had a 50/50 chance of surviving the next five years, Wykes gave up work to focus on her mixed media artwork and enjoy time with family. Three years ago tests confirmed the cancer had spread throughout her sternum, heart, diaphragm and stomach.
"I've been rushed to hospital three times with life-threatening complications, but I'm like an old weed - I just keep coming back," she said.
Hospice North Shore became a temporary home for Wykes on two occasions and she is now cared for at home by a hospice community nurse.
"The people at hospice are so kind and compassionate, everyone from the kitchen staff to the cleaners. And nothing is ever too much for the nurses."
To bide the time she spends at home, Wykes is also busy penning her autobiography.
In a chapter dedicated to her daughter, Wykes said: "Take up your paddle and row like mad... no matter how hard you try to keep yourself safe, ultimately you are not going to get out of this world alive."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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