So why am I telling you all this?
Well, Kev had cancer, a cancer that he eventually died of. When we worked together first time round, someone had mentioned that he had cancer, and I noticed that he had made modifications to his office chair, as I believe he suffered from back pain. Although I had an Uncle that died of cancer when I was young, and a cousin who died from cancer before I was born, I had limited experience of what a devastating effect cancer can have. When we worked together a second time, I was slightly more aware that Kev had to work from home sometimes after radiotherapy treatments, but I only found out afterwards that he had been given a projection about how long he had to live. Amazingly, with all this going on, he always maintained an upbeat mood and never once complained about his condition.
When Kev died, I wanted to do something in his memory. I applied for a voluntary role at my local Early Detection of Cancer service. My role was (ironically as it happens) to go out into the community and talk to people about the three most common cancers (breast, brain and bowel) and advise them to seek help if they were exhibiting any symptoms.
I truly believe that this helped to save my life. The training included a video of an early stage cancer (which looked like a small white pea), and then an advanced cancer that had wrapped itself around the entire bowel, making it impossible to operate on. I will never forget that image, and made a firm note to self that if I ever had any suspicious symptoms that I would act quickly.
Well, as regular readers of this blog know, I did have suspicious symptoms, I did act quickly and I'm still here to tell the tale. I told Kev's wife that he saved my life. He could save yours too. So don't ignore the signs, listen to your body and go straight to the GP if you identify any changes (even subtle ones). It's part of his legacy and I hope, part of mine.