Cancer doesn’t stop at Christmas, but you can give hope to families this festive season.
In his final days, Greg just wanted to be home with his family for Christmas. He had been in and out of hospital for years ─ enduring countless scans, tests, and treatments to keep his cancer at bay. His wife, Diane, was by his side every step of the way:
“Greg was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when our sons were five and eight years old. It was so hard to tell them and his parents because they had already lost a son.
The specialist told us most cases were treatable, so we felt optimistic about it. But after his first round of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, the cancer came back very quickly.”
Having a loved one going through cancer treatment is challenging. But when they can’t be home for Christmas ─ a time of joy and celebration for many families ─ it can be one of the most challenging times of the year.
Sadly, over the years, Greg's cancer continued to spread.
“He had to do more rounds of chemo and radiation,” Diane says. “When he had the bone marrow transplant, he had to stay in hospital for weeks to recover. But it didn’t get better… and eventually, they found tumours on his brain.”
As his cancer progressed, the frequent trips to hospital became more difficult and costly. That’s when Greg and Diane contacted the Cancer Society for help. The Cancer Society supported Greg with accommodation ─ a comfortable and convenient place to stay for people undergoing cancer treatment far from their homes.
“With everything he had to go through, Greg was just amazing. But I fell to pieces quite badly myself. “
“Staying at the Cancer Society’s accommodation meant one less thing to worry about, when you already have a thousand other things on your mind.
"It relieved a lot of the financial burden and made it easy to get to all his appointments. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to support Greg like I did.
“Our children could visit on the weekends, and our family could be together. It felt like a home away from home, and I can’t ever be thankful enough for that.”
The Cancer Society’s accommodation hosts thousands of patients and their families annually. But every day, 72 New Zealanders will get the devastating news that they have cancer ─ and that number continues to grow.
We want to be able to provide a bed for anyone from out of town who is receiving cancer treatment. But as a charity, we rely on the kindness of our donors to keep the doors open all year round. We can’t meet this demand without your support.
Please, will you send a life-changing gift this Christmas to help families like Diane’s?
Greg passed away at just 52 years old ─ a loss that will last a lifetime for his family.
But his story shows the enormous difference you can make by supporting people in similar situations during the holidays, and all year round.
Please donate today to make sure New Zealanders living with cancer continue to have the care and support they need this festive season and beyond.