Party favour Staying positive to help others and make most of life
Hucclecote Methodist Church Hall will be hosting a bring and buy sale on Saturday from 10am12.30pm in aid of the CT Scanner Appeal Entry 50p or free if you bring an item to sell
WHEN Andy Loughran was told his cancer was terminal, his friends asked him what he wanted to do and he replied ‘let’s have a party.’
Within weeks, the 47-year-old’s loved ones had organised a huge event in his honour and are raising vital funds for charity in his name.
Around £3,000 has been collected from the party, which took place at Gloucester Irish Club, for the Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity’s £1.2m CT Appeal.
The self-confessed joker said he has been overwhelmed with the love and support he has received and what everyone has done.
“It is unbelievable. Everyone has been wonderful. This party is just a small amount of what people have done for me,” he said.
“If I had a pound for every time someone had said ‘If there is anything they can do, don’t hesitate to call,’ I would be rich.”
Andy, from Gloucester, went to the doctors last year complaining of a throbbing in his stomach.
He was referred for
an ultrasound which found an 8cm tumour on his kidney.
A CT scan confirmed the results and he was sent for a biopsy in September. He said: “By the time I went to get my results of the biopsy, my tumour had grown so big I was struggling to walk and move. It was almost 14cm, I called it my Easter egg. “I was told the cancer was stage four and they were fast-tracking the operation. “The tumour had taken most of one of my kidneys, gone through my diaphragm and taken the spleen.”
He continued: “When my sister and I were told the news, we broke down, it almost destroyed me.
“I got through the operation okay but I was told after Christmas the cancer was now terminal. It is treatable with chemotherapy, but it is not curable.”
Despite the news, the former Chosen Hill School pupil is remaining positive. His daughter Aimee Walters is pregnant, and he is determined to see his first grandchild born, visit a glacier in France with his son Ashley and see the Northern Lights.
“I am just carrying on as I always have done. I have always been happy and life and soul of the party, “he said.
“I always strive to be that, always the joker and I am just going to carry on like that.”
He is getting married to his partner of five years Jessica Spencer, 36, who he met when they played on opposite skittles teams.
She said: “He has been absolutely amazing through all of this. It has not only been hard for him dealing with the diagnosis but also to see the faces of his loved ones.
“Andy will try everything under the sun to prolong his life. He has such a great family and friends supporting him and he wants to fight for them every day is precious.”
Since the couple met, they have been passionate about enjoying life.
“There was not a spare moment that was wasted. We travelled, went to concerts and festivals, he would have a go at everything put in front of him from bungee jumps to motorbikes,” she said.
Andy, who worked at UPS in Brockworth until his illness, proposed four years ago on the beach when they were on holiday in Greece but they have put off planning their wedding until now. They hope to marry next month. “It won’t be a massive wedding as I
am not sure Andy could manage it physically,” she said.
“It is important for both of us, for him to feel content but also to give me strength to carry on afterwards.”
As well as the party this weekend, sponsored events to help the appeal include Andy’s friend Mark Taylor who is rowing one million metres in 100 days for the charity.
His sister Lesley Rees and her husband Chris are walking Hadrian’s Wall this summer while his friend Brad Parsons has arranged a charity fight night.
Andy said: “We cannot thank everyone enough for what they are doing and particularly Darren and Sara Hendry for everything they are doing for the party and to everyone who has donated prizes for the raffle and the auction,.
“We chose this appeal as we wanted to help buy some equipment for the hospital. We know £1.2m is a lot to raise but every little helps.”
Senior fundraiser at Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity Karen Organ said: “We cannot thank all of Andy’s family and friends for everything they are doing to help with appeal.
“Our thoughts are with Andy and his loved ones as he begins his chemotherapy treatment and we wish them all the best with their amazing efforts.”
To support Andy’s fundraising drive, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/sarahendry.
Andy Loughran with fiancee Jessica and, left, supporting the appeal