Chris and Jo Woodfield
Chris’ Story, by his wife Jo
What I will say is that Chris was an incredibly caring, fun, loving and adventurous man. He was a Chartered Engineer working in central London, living life to the full and enjoying settling into his new home in Battersea with me in 2010. Sadly, out of the blue, Chris was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer in April 2011 at the age of 28. At this time, it was discovered that there was already a very significant spread of disease to his liver despite limited symptoms. He spent the following six years courageously undergoing extensive and gruelling treatment (chemotherapy, a bowel resection with stoma, liver resections, lung resections, cyberknife, nanoknife, cryotherapy, radio frequency ablation and radiotherapy). It is a testament to his enormous courage, physical and mental strength, and to the loving support of all his family and friends, that he did so whilst still embracing life to the full and encouraging others to do the same. Our wedding day on 12th July 2014 was most definitely the best day of our lives.
Ultimately, six years of treatment took its toll and Chris passed away peacefully at the Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon on 7th April 2017 with myself, his parents, sister Debbie, brother Andy and his two closest friends at his side. Everyone who knew and loved him is heartbroken and he has left a huge hole in all our lives. We are all enormously grateful, however, for the extra years his talented team of consultants gave him, for the many wonderful memories of time spent with him and for the privilege of having had him in our lives.
Through my growing friendship with Chris’ liver surgeon and Trustee of BRIGHT, Professor Nariman Karanjia, I am currently volunteering for BRIGHT Cancer Care, a small registered charity who raise vital funds for research and treatment development for gastro-intestinal (GI) cancers (which include bowel cancers and cancers of the stomach, oesophagus and gall bladder) and more recently including Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) cancers (which include cancers of the liver, bile ducts and pancreas).
Many GI cancers like Chris’ spread to the liver so research into this disease and secondary spread will help to improve diagnosis, lead to more successful treatments, improve patients’ quality of life and we hope ultimately lead to a greater life expectancy. Without Professor Karanjia’s liver surgeries, made possible in part by the charity’s donations for vital equipment, Chris would not have been able to go on and have further treatments that were not even available at the time of his diagnosis. There is no doubt that without all these ground breaking treatments Chris’ life would have been significantly shorter and more restricted than it was. It is wonderful that BRIGHT are currently fundraising for a nanoknife machine at the Royal Surrey Hospital; it was a hugely important part of Chris’s treatment that is only available in a very few specialist cancer hospitals.
We know that Chris would want as many other people in his position to have the best chance possible to overcome this disease and have both a better quality and length of life, even if their cancer is incurable. In 2018 alone, Chris’ friends and family raised £25,636 for BRIGHT and continue with these efforts to support the invaluable treatments and research they provide and support. Anything you can give will make a huge difference to anyone facing GI and HPB cancers. Thank you.