Sometimes people share something special with me, and this is something special. Social media certainly gets the message around the globe and my little blog can be part of spreading this message.
Dad’s story inspired us to create our own bucket list (Bo’s List) and this year we are going for it by entering the New York Marathon on his birthday, 04th of November 2012. We saw this as an opportunity to honour Dad, fulfill a dream and build awareness of Bowel Cancer. 1 in 12 of us will receive a Bowel Cancer diagnosis during our lifetime. To build awareness we are asking 1000 people to make small $12 donation to raise $12000 for Bowel Cancer Australia. Help us fight Bowel Cancer and share in the amazing story of Bo Trainor and our marathon to remember him!
When you think about Life with Cancer, it often leads to thoughts of sadness, pain and struggle. Dad saw it differently and these words did not exist in his world. He was determined to keep living his best life. Nothing would stop him. He made a bucket list and just went for it! The list of accomplishments Dad achieved in the final four years of his life remains an absolute inspiration.
His bucket list would read:
1. Reach my 70th Birthday
2. Sky Diving over the south coast from Torquay with Lincoln
3. 4WD across Simpson Desert with Marlene
4. 4WD Ayers Rock, Olgas, Kings Canyon with Marlene
5. 4WD from Darwin to Broome and particularly along the Gibb River Road with Lincoln
6. Have an unforgettable holiday with my two boys in Broome which includes sunset dinners on Cable beach, a sea plane ride, jet boat through the horizontal falls and swimming with sharks
7. Sail in Westernport Bay with Peter and family
8. Drive Geoff Edelsten Super Cruiser with all family aboard for my 70th birthday
9. Have a two week family holiday in an incredible villa in Bali
10. Take a cruise with Marlene around NZ
11. Travel overseas to Las Vegas and do every casino in 12 hours, fly over the over the Grand Canyon, walk the Golden Gate bridge and see Alcatraz.
12. Play a round of golf at Pebble Beach
13. March alongside Lincoln in Melbourne for Anzac Day with the Fleet Air Arm Association
14. Attend Ryans Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award dinner
15. Watch as many live Sporting matches with family as possible including AFL, NRL, A League, World Cup Qualifier
16. Watch favourite singers in live concerts including Elton John, Peter Allen, Billy Joel with Marlene
17. Keep holidaying each year down beach with family, this was particularly special this past Xmas
18. Go to cinemas and watch great action movies every week – his last movie was Safe House and this was only a week before he passed, an incredible effort for a man who could barely move his body, but never lost his strength of mind
19. Never say no to an offer of a good DVD – must be fast paced and plenty of action! He didn’t mind a thriller either.
20. Find joy in every moment!
The story about Dads journey with cancer shows insight into a man who displayed tremendous strength, determination and courage. He fought cancer with grace and dignity. Once you read about his incredible fight with Bowel Cancer, you will see why we are so proud to call him Dad. He was a man who truly lived in the now, was always excited about the future and no regrets about the past!
Dad was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer in May 2006 and the following day he was admitted to hospital for an extensive 9 hour operation to remove a large section of his colon. He had no chemotherapy and was in remission for two years. It returned in the lower part of his spine in 2008. In October 2008 he was involved in a marathon 14 hour operation where they actually cut the bone of the coccyx and sacrum off and radiated the affected spinal area during the surgery. It took a team of world leading surgeons in one of the most complex operations they had ever performed to successfully remove the cancer. It was lucky he could walk after the operation as they cut the lower part of the spine up to a point where the nerves could have been very problematic. He was left with a colostomy bag and several rounds of chemotherapy to try and ensure the cancer would not return. This operation was very confronting and it led to Dad making a conscious decision to set out and achieve all his dreams. He decided to seize every moment he could for adventure and family. It was at this time in Intensive Care that Dad decided to fulfill his life long ambition to skydive, a dream he later fulfilled down at Torquay. After this operation Dad had to face the huge challenge of pain management. It’s hard to believe he never complained during his entire journey with cancer, taking it in his stride and always remaining strong and upbeat for all those around him. It was during one of Dad and Marlene’s 4WD adventures to the red centre when strange cancer nodules appeared on the base of his back causing him extreme pain. He and Marlene drove night and day to get Dad urgent treatment back in Melbourne. He then was involved in a solid course of chemotherapy and radiation so he could continue his adventures. It was found at this time that the cancer was spreading, but by no means was it keeping him down! The whole family was extremely excited to see him get an invitation to a world leading drug study for bowel cancer for the first half of 2011. This regressed the cancer for 6 months before he was taken off the study. It provided him with enough strength to achieve his biggest 4WD dream of conquering the Kimberly and Gibb River Rd. He made it known to the doctors that he must do this trip and they were to do everything to get him ready. So prior to the trip he endured 10 days of radiation treatment with mainly double doses right up until the day before he left for Darwin.
He was a constant ball of energy looking to the next challenge and adventure on the list! Although his body was failing, he simply could not see it, he was still planning to go to Dubai and buy a Caravan in the coming months. He was also planning to attend ANZAC day this year again. His determination and denial of what was in front of him led to him to achieve things that left us and his doctors in continual disbelief! I imagine most people would not believe me when I say he never complained. His incredible mental strength, positive attitude and stubbornness meant he outlived and exceeded every negative medical prognosis. He would do it his way and when he was ready with family surrounding him at home. His perspective on life found him taking joy in the simple things, maybe a visit from his friends in Real Estate, going to a Wandrin 4 Wheelers meeting, a family visit surrounded with all his grandchildren or just an afternoon in the sun reading the Newspaper and doing the cross word. If you measure a person by the way they react to a situation. His warmth, love and incredible capacity to make you feel comfortable around him no matter how he was feeling. He was truly inspiring man.
Dad passed away surrounded by family on 17th of February 2012 aged 70.
Bowel Cancer Australia works to reduce the impact of bowel cancer in our society through awareness, education, support and research. Bowel Cancer is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer. It affects men and women equally, of any age. 78 people die every week from the disease. (Lincoln & Ryan Trainor)