‘Ir­fon would have been de­lighted’

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

Gwasg Car­reg Gwalch THE late cancer cam­paigner Ir­fon Wil­liams would have been “de­lighted” his autobiography has been pub­lished in time for Christ­mas, ac­cord­ing to his ed­i­tor.

Mr Wil­liams started writ­ing Hawl i Fyw (Right to Live) more than a year ago, and com­pleted it shortly be­fore hiss death in May this year.

The father-of-five and men­tal health nurse suc­cess­ful­lyy lob­bied the Welsh Gov­ern­ment over ac­cess to drugs for cancer pa­tients in Wales.

In the book, Mr Wil­liams, who was from Bangor, tells read­ers not to ac­cept “what the politi­cians and doc­tors tell you”, adding: “Af­ter all, ev­ery­one has the right to live.”

His trou­bles be­gan in Jan­uary 2014 when he was di­ag­nosed with ad­vanced bowel cancer.

He mar­ried his wife Becky al­most im­me­di­ately but in­stead of a hon­ey­moon he had three months of chemo­ther­apy and or­gan­ised a cam­paign that raised £70,000 to help other cancer pa­tients.

In the in­tro­duc­tion to the book, Mrs Wil­liams wrote: “He was de­ter­mined to fin­ish this book for his story to be a per­ma­nent reminder, a chron­i­cle of his life, for his chil­dren es­pe­cially.

“This is the autobiography of a lov­ing hus­band, proud father and a Welsh­man to the core.

“It is a very per­sonal story in which Ir­fon ex­plains his cancer jour­ney, his child­hood and the in­flu­ences that made my hus­band so brave and charis­matic.

“It is a record of his life and hu­mour, the ela­tion and heart­break he re­ceived as a re­sult of the treat­ment, and his de­ci­sion to chal- lenge the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem in Wales at the same time as fight­ing cancer.”

Nia Roberts, who edited the book, said Mr Wil­liams wrote all of it apart from the last three chap­ters when he was too weak so she typed up his words.

She said: “He wanted to fo­cus on his battle for treat­ment and on the pol­i­tics.

“He writes about his chchild­hood and train­ing toto be a nurse – which made him stronger and more able to deal with ththe cancer.”

In 2015, Mr Wil­liams was re­fused a po­ten­tially liflife-pro­long­ing cancer dr­drug.

He lob­bied the Welsh GGovern­ment to end the ininequal­ity that saw Englis­lish pa­tients able to bene­fi­efit from Ce­tux­imab wwhile Welsh pa­tients co­could not.

Mr Wil­liams had to mmove from his Bangor ho­home to live in Eng­land toto get the drug. Mrs Roberts said: “He was de­ter­mined to fin­ish the book to show his battle to get the drug Ce­tux­imab avail­able for cancer pa­tients in Wales. He wanted peo­ple to ques­tion de­ci­sions made by doc­tors and in ev­ery­day life.

“He knew what he wanted to ac­com­plish and had promised the book would be pub­lished be­fore Christ­mas – and has kept to it. He would be de­lighted with that.”

An English ver­sion will hope­fully be pub­lished next year.

Hawl i Fyw pub­lished by Car­reg Gwalch at £6.95 will be launched at Clwb Rygbi Bangor tonight at 7.30pm by Elin Fflur and Rhys Meirion with Llion Wil­liams read­ing ex­cerpts. Free en­try and ev­ery­body wel­come.

Ir­fon Wil­liams play­ing the eu­pho­nium with Sein­dorf Beau­maris Band and play­ing rugby – he loved be­ing on the field. (Above right) Cover of Ir­fon Wil­liams’ autobiography Hawl i Fyw ● Ir­fon and Becky with all the chil­dren pic­tured in Au­gust 2011

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