Can­cer ‘didn’t take his spirit away’

Fundraiser un­der­way to help fam­ily of former St. Croix man deal with sud­den loss

Valley Journal Advertiser - - COMMUNITY - BY CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL WWW.HANTSJOURNAL.CA Ca­role.Mor­ris-Un­der­

Joey Archibald was opin­ion­ated and pas­sion­ate; he could light up a room and had a wicked sense of hu­mour.

He was friendly and out­go­ing, and un­til his last breath, was a fighter.

Archibald, who grew up in St. Croix, died in Hal­i­fax Aug. 8 just days af­ter re­ceiv­ing a can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

Now, the com­mu­nity is ral­ly­ing around a fundraiser that is aimed at help­ing his fam­ily cope with his sud­den pass­ing.

“He was full of spirit, full of opin­ion,” said Liza Nel­son, Archibald’s sis­ter, with a war­ble in her voice.

The fam­ily is still reel­ing from the loss.

“Def­i­nitely a fighter. He didn’t get to fight — with treat­ment — the can­cer, but he was Joey un­til the end. It didn’t take his spirit away.”

Archibald, who grad­u­ated from Hants West Ru­ral High School in 1995, be­gan feel­ing un­der the weather around Fa­ther’s Day.

“He was just feel­ing a lit­tle bit un­well, low-grade fever, tired. Not any­thing that the rest of us haven’t had,” said Nel­son.

Af­ter tough­ing it out for a few weeks, he went to see the doc­tor, who, af­ter re­ceiv­ing the blood work re­sults, sent him to the Queen El­iz­a­beth II hospi­tal. He was ad­mit­ted on July 12.

“For the next two weeks, we were kind of con­fused as to what was go­ing on. He didn’t feel well. They said he had an in­fected ab­scess on his liver,” said Nel­son.

On July 20, Archibald made a pub­lic Face­book post about the im­por­tance of see­ing a doc­tor when you’re not feel­ing well. He called it a cau­tion­ary tale.

“Our bod­ies are amaz­ing, they know what’s up, and ig­nor­ing it can be deadly. If my as­tute doc­tor hadn’t sent me when she did, or if I had waited even a few more days, I may never have been post­ing again. My re­cov­ery will be long, but it’s bet­ter than the al­ter­na­tive. These have been the scari­est, most painful days of my life. It shouldn’t have got­ten here,” he wrote.

“Please take one thing from this post, if you don’t feel well, seek help. Don’t try and tough it out or think wait­ing is an op­tion,” he con­tin­ued.

“When I close my eyes at night, or when­ever I get a chance to sleep, I am al­ways struck for a few mo­ments about how quickly ev­ery­thing can change dra­mat­i­cally. Love Joey Archibald, with his wife, Car­rie, and daugh­ter, Mar­ley, pose for a photo dur­ing hap­pier times in 2017. Archibald died from an ag­gres­sive can­cer in Au­gust 2018.

your­self enough to be smarter than me and don’t put off ask­ing for help. Men, I know so­ci­ety tells us to be tough, but what’s more im­por­tant is be­ing smart and alive. Stay healthy and love your­self.”

At the time of the post­ing, he had spent eight days in hospi­tal and un­der­went one surgery. Then the doc­tors dis­cov­ered he had a large tu­mor on his liver, Nel­son said.

“I know the week­end be­fore he died, he had been home. On Sun­day (Aug. 5), he was feel­ing un­well again so he was taken back to the hospi­tal. On Mon­day (Aug. 6), they did more CT scans and said it had spread to his adrenal glands and his lungs,” said Nel­son.

“I’ve been told the doc­tors said to him ‘the odds are stacked against you’ and he said, ‘ I’m go­ing to fight it,’ so they ad­mit­ted him to the on­col­ogy ward at the VG to get started with treat­ments,” said Nel­son.

On Aug. 8, Archibald took his last breath at 41-years-old.

“We knew he had a lot of can­cer but we thought we had a fight,” said Nel­son, strug­gling to main­tain com­po­sure.

“It was early Wed­nes­day morn­ing I had a Face­book mes­sage from him that just said: ‘ I’m here on the floor where I need to be to deal with this now.’ And then by the time I saw him again, he was non-re­spon­sive. He was ready to fight right un­til the end,” said Nel­son.

Fundraiser un­der­way

Archibald’s older brother, Jeff Archibald, is cur­rently liv­ing in Eng­land and await­ing his visa re­newal. Due to how fast his brother’s can­cer spread, he couldn’t be by his bed­side.

Want­ing to help, he set up a fundraiser for the fam­ily Joey Archibald leaves be­hind — his wife, Car­rie, and their eight-year-old daugh­ter


“I just don’t want them to have to worry about any­thing, other than (cop­ing with) los­ing their hus­band and their dad,” Jeff Archibald said in a phone in­ter­view.

A Go Fund Me cam­paign was launched to help Car­rie, a self­em­ployed hair­styl­ist in Hal­i­fax, grieve, cope with be­com­ing a sin­gle mother, and still pay all the bills.

Joe and Car­rie were mar­ried July 16, 2011. They re­cently bought a new house in Hal­i­fax and were look­ing for­ward to tak­ing a fam­ily va­ca­tion when he fell ill.

“Car­rie is still quite in shock. He was quite healthy up un­til the first of July. No­body had any idea that he had any­thing,” said Jeff Archibald.

An ini­tial goal of $3,000 was set. The Go Fund Me cam­paign has far ex­ceeded their hopes. As of this writ­ing, the fundraiser was sit­ting at $14,500. Jeff Archibald said he’s plan­ning to keep the fundraiser open for a few more weeks as peo­ple are still learn­ing of Joey’s death.

“I didn’t have any wild ex­pec­ta­tions — just some­thing to help Car­rie out; any­thing would be good,” he said.

The out­pour­ing of sup­port has been touch­ing to the en­tire fam­ily.

Jeff Archibald said he’s hop­ing to re­turn to Nova Sco­tia some­time this year and will take part in a cel­e­bra­tion of life ser­vice for his brother.

“It was stun­ningly ag­gres­sive can­cer,” he said.

“I was up­set about the can­cer but then Mom had me on video chat in the hospi­tal room and showed me Joe on the video screen and that was it. I lost it a lit­tle bit,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve even ac­cepted it yet... I know it’s hap­pened — but it hasn’t re­ally sunk in.”


Joey Archibald is be­ing re­mem­bered as a loving hus­band, dot­ing fa­ther, and a gen­er­ous, fun-loving friend. He died from an ag­gres­sive can­cer Aug. 8.



A fundraiser is un­der­way for Car­rie Archibald, who un­ex­pect­edly lost her hus­band, Joe, to can­cer Aug. 8.


Joey Archibald with his niece Scar­lett Nel­son, daugh­ter Mar­ley Archibald, and niece Made­lynn Nel­son were stoked to catch the Jays game wear­ing match­ing hats in this un­dated fam­ily photo.

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