A daf­fodil for dad

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - *Daf­fodil Day is held on Au­gust 25. Please give gen­er­ously to the street ap­peal. Who will you wear it for?

‘‘I’m go­ing to live long enough to an­noy that child’’ were com­i­cal but true words from Dan Strong while in the grips of lifethreat­en­ing can­cer.

Megan Strong’s dad suc­cumbed to blad­der can­cer in Septem­ber 2014 just 18-months af­ter his grand­son Ash­ton was in­tro­duced to the world.

Strong said when she wore that bright yel­low spring flower on Daf­fodil Day, she wore it for her dad.

‘‘He was a huge sup­porter of the Can­cer So­ci­ety, even do­ing vol­un­teer work for them when he was go­ing through treat­ment.’’

Strong’s dad was di­ag­nosed with can­cer sev­eral years ago.

‘‘He had an op­er­a­tion at the time to give him an­other five years and in Fe­bru­ary 2011 he was di­ag­nosed with blad­der can­cer again. The can­cer had spread. We were all re­ally dev­as­tated.’’

She said at the time she was ‘‘un­ex­pect­edly’’ preg­nant.

‘‘I’d been told we couldn’t have chil­dren.’’

When Strong told her par­ents she was ex­pect­ing, her dad said, ‘‘I’m go­ing to live long enough to an­noy that child’’.

And he did.

‘‘They had a re­ally re­ally close re­la­tion­ship.

‘‘Ev­ery­one would say that he lived, not only for the rest of us but he lived to meet Ash­ton. Ash­ton was a real mir­a­cle in that re­gard. He’s just like my dad so we have him as a re­minder.’’

Every Daf­fodil Day Strong takes Ash­ton to her fa­thers grave to lay flow­ers.

She said her dad had strong views about stress be­ing a con­trib­u­tor to can­cer.

‘‘He was an ad­vo­cate of try­ing to make sure your life was as pos­i­tive and happy and fruit­ful as it could be’’ and he wanted to share his pos­i­tiv­ity with oth­ers.

Strong said as well as wear­ing the daf­fodil in mem­ory of her dad, she wore it for ‘‘fu­ture gen­er­a­tions’’ so they didn’t have to ‘‘bat­tle with the epi­demic we have now’’.

‘‘The statis­tic is one in three af­fected but you’d be hard pushed to find some­body now that didn’t know some­one whose life had been af­fected in some way.’’

For Strong and her fam­ily, see­ing their love one af­fected by can­cer was ‘‘hor­ren­dous’’.

‘‘It is hor­ri­ble, and it’s sad, and it’s painful, and it’s heart­break­ing be­cause there’s so lit­tle at times you can do but ... as a fam­ily we trea­sured the re­ally pos­i­tive time that we got that we were lucky to get.

‘‘You get some amaz­ing mo­ments in time with those peo­ple to cher­ish that you might not have oth­er­wise had.’’

A teacher at St Peter Chanel Pri­mary School, Strong is also a Daf­fodil Day co-or­di­na­tor for the Can­cer So­ci­ety. She said it’s a busy, fun, ex­cit­ing day ’’but you have these mo­ments that re­ally make you stop and go, ‘this is why we do it.’ ‘‘

Strong has taken on board some­thing one of her stu­dents re­cently said to her about be­ing in­volved in the day.

‘‘It feels good to know you’ve done some good for some­body else.’’

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