Cancer sufferer values support
Tears form in Dennis Maher's eyes as he talks about the waiting game of living with terminal cancer.
Mr Maher went to Auckland in February for what he thought was a consultation, instead he came back with a death sentence.
The Tahunanui resident was diagnosed with terminal cancer after doctors discovered multiple lesions on his liver.
"My head just went to nowhere [when I was told]. I didn't hear what they were saying.
"But it hits you like a train when you finally get over the initial shock."
Having since been offered a place in a drug trial, he is now waiting to hear what medication he will be on and when it will start.
"I've got it and they can't get rid of it. I may as well go in [to the trial] and help other people."
Most of his family live in Australia, a sister in Brisbane and son in Perth, where he was born.
"But I went and let my passport expire so I've had to send that away. Then I can start making plans to go over."
When he told his sister about his diagnosis she and her husband had planned to come to New Zealand.
Sadly, only three days later his brother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer as well, putting a stop to plans and leaving the siblings stranded on different sides of the Tasman - "between a rock and a hard place".
Mr Maher's other son still lives in Nelson though and he said that the support he had given him was brilliant.
"He's been a little rock for me."
The Cancer Society too had been absolutely brilliant, particularly with the seminars and courses offered, he said.
A few months ago he was involved in a six-week health and awareness course where he was able to meet other people suffering from cancer.
"That was brilliant, to be able to talk to other people."
The women at the society also kept in touch, which was very special, he said.
"They ring up and make sure I'm okay."
Mr Maher said he has tried not to let the diagnosis affect his life.
"I still work part-time, I'm still out there keeping in touch. I've just carried on the same."
Although he had donated throughout the years and on Daffodil Day, which is being held today, Mr Maher said he never truly understood the importance of the Cancer Society. "I always used to give change, but there's a lot more feeling in it now."
The society had provided him with support that was truly invaluable, he said.
"They're pretty special people."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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