A letter to... my amazing dad
From the moment I was born, you and
I were so close.
Early on, we bonded over our love of horses, and I learned to ride soon after I could walk.
Mum Zoe, 49, and my younger brother Harry, 22, shared our passion. And you supported Harry while he pursued his dreams of becoming a jockey.
We’d follow him around the country, watching him compete. When he became professional, you were so proud.
Racing was your life. You never missed a race day at Cheltenham. And there were times we went away to Aintree together, just the two of us. Two peas in a pod.
Even when Harry and I left home, got places of our own, we were still a close family.
So when you started complaining of stomach pains toward the end of 2017, we were concerned.
You were never usually one to moan, you see.
The GP gave you morphine
tablets, but they did nothing to relieve the horrendous pain.
Desperate for answers, you paid for a private scan. Then, in March 2018, Harry and I got that text from Mum… Come over after work. We knew something was wrong. But nothing could have prepared me for the news when I walked in.
You were beside yourself. ‘I’ve got pancreatic cancer,’ you wept.
My whole world crumbled. Soon after, you started strong chemotherapy.
The treatment made you so sick and tired.Within a matter of weeks, I’d watched my happy-golucky dad deteriorate.
We started to realise just how poorly you were. After three months of chemo, doctors cleared you for surgery. You wanted to live, Dad. So, last August, you had an op to remove the tumour at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
Seeing you in Intensive Care, after, was heartbreaking. Still, we prayed you were on the mend.
But then, less than 24 hours after surgery, you needed another emergency operation. Your blood had started to clot. Then you were put into an induced coma. Desperate for something positive to focus on, I started looking into charity events to take part in.
I wanted to do something in your honour, Dad. Then, I found the perfect one… Cancer charity Macmillan was organising a horse-racing event.
The charity’s Ride of Their Lives takes place at York Race Course every June. It challenges people to race for one mile and one furlong.
Although you’d brought me up to ride horses, I’d never raced before. It would be a huge challenge. But I knew you’d be so proud of me.
When you woke up from the coma, I told you about the race.
Dad, you were so poorly
– but your face lit up.
‘I’ll be there,’ you promised. After a month of trips back and forth to the ICU, on 23 September last year, you lost your battle, aged just 53. We were devastated. More than 600 people attended your funeral. It proved how loved you were.
I’ve since raised more than £20,000 for Macmillan.
I’m still consumed by grief, but I’ve not forgotten my promise to you, Dad.
I told you I’d race at York Race Course, and that’s exactly what I’ll do on Saturday 15 June, the day before Father’s Day.
Training hasn’t been easy. Racehorses are so big, and so fast! But please know, as I gallop down the final straight, I’ll be doing it for you. Love, Abi x Abi Stock, 25, Wickhamford Visit justgiving.com/ fundraising/abi-stock
You (far left) and Mum supported my jockey brother – here with trainer Donald McCain
Me and you at Cheltenham
I’m doing it for you
My daddy, Chris: a special bond