A let­ter to... my amaz­ing dad

Dear Dad,

Chat - - CONTENTS -

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

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