David Woffinden said his seven-year-old son Walter will have to ‘become the man of the house’ as the family come to terms with the 44-year-old’s shock diagnosis.
After a month in which the bad news spiralled, a fundraiser was set up so David could live the rest of the year to the full - with plans to take Walter to Legoland and, in two weeks’ time, tie the knot with partner of more than a decade, Gemma Bullivant, 35.
David, of Wood Park View, Athersley North, said: “We’re just going to make as many memories as we can. Walter took it hard at first when I said I wasn’t getting any better. He asked if I was going to die, and I said I was on tablets and we were trying our best. He looked at me and said if I was going to die, he was too.
“Now, he’s turned into an uber protector. I dropped something the other day and cursed under my breath, and he came running down the stairs to check up on me. He’s got to become the man of the house now. I’m not one to be ashamed - I’ve got my head around it. We’ve proper hammered the wedding to get everything sorted - we’ve been engaged for years and it’s a good excuse. There are a lot of reasons to do it. Gemma will finally have the same last name as the kid, which is important for her.”
He said he’d suffered with stomach pains for around a year, but in March, David finally received the diagnosis.
“It started off as a bit of gut ache and I fobbed it off. It got to the point where the pain became pretty much constant, so I had an appointment at the doctor’s and the receptionist put it down to Covid but the nurse thought it was a chest infection.
“That solved nothing, so I went to A and E where they said I had these massive stomach ulcers.
“Within a day, they said they found cancer within the ulcers.”
A week later, the cancer had spread too far to be treated.
David said he was told it was rare for someone his age to have stomach cancer spread so quickly.
“It was just numbness to be fair - it didn’t register. It was only really when I got the sick note from work saying ‘stomach cancer’, and Macmillan nurses were giving me hugs, that I started thinking ‘this is pretty real’. All the bad news happened within a month - from having a bit of gut rot to having terminal cancer. We were glad for March to be over. You think you’ve got a couple of years, you can fight it off, but then we got kicked again. Weston Park said I had six-to-eight months. They were pushing for aggressive chemotherapy but that wouldn’t cure it.
“They were darting around everything so I got the consultants in and said, I deal with facts and figures, ABCs - and they said chemo would give me an extra three months.
“I decided then I would sooner take painkillers and live as much life as I can. I’ve dealt with everything through humour - if you let it get you down that gets you nowhere.
“I’d sooner it be me than anyone else I know. You just build a bridge and then you get over it. I’ve got a good support bubble around me.”
David - who works as a site coordinator at Ardent Hire - said his boss Gary Thompson planned the fundraiser ‘behind his back’.
It was set up on Tuesday and has already seen more than £1,400 raised for the family.
“It’s very humbling,” he said.
“We hate asking for anything. I wish I’d gone to the doctors years ago and it might’ve been different - you look back and wonder, was that the start of the cancer? It highlights to anybody to get things checked out.
“I gave it a year, and that year might’ve been the difference. But I don’t look back, I look forward.”