'A real gent' - Father raising awareness of rare cancer passes away aged 61

sarcoma

Tom Ward was diagnosed with sarcoma in February 2021. - Credit: Submitted

A father who fought to save lives by raising awareness of a rare cancer has died.

Tom Ward, from Beccles, died earlier this month on January 16, less than a year after being diagnosed with sarcoma in February 2021.

The father-of-three, who turned 61 in November, had been sent to the Royal Marsden Hospital in London in April, but the operation did not work after cancer spread around his body, eventually to his brain.

After radiotherapy and chemotherapy did not work, his family set up a fundraiser in the hope of paying for treatment from Spanish clinic, who visited Mr Ward to carry out the therapy.

Their efforts saw around a quarter of the £40,000 needed raised, with Mr Ward covering the remainder from his pension and mortgage.

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Christine and Tom pictured just before Tom lost his hair. - Credit: Submitted

His wife Christine hailed her husband's positivity throughout his life and illness.

The couple, who were married for 37 years, have three children, Matt, Dan and Vex.

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Mrs Ward said: "Tom being Tom, he made sure it didn't stop him doing what he wanted. He was always determined to carry on as normal.

"He was amazing, really loving and a very caring dad who made people smile.

"He was a real gent and a good Christian man."

A member of Beccles Camera Club and the New Life Christian Fellowship, Mr Ward worked as a carer at Britten Court in Lowestoft.

Mrs Ward said: "Right to the end he was really positive. He was talking to anyone when he was on his crutches, then in his wheelchair.

"At the last count I've had 42 cards from his friends and former colleagues and lots of messages of support.

"The messages from the community has made a huge difference to help us feel supported at this time."

Sarcoma is a rare form of cancer, with only 1pc of all cancers being sarcoma.

It is a broad term for the group of cancers which start in the bones and soft tissues and there are over 70 different types of sarcoma.

The main symptoms of sarcoma include a lump that can be felt throughout the skin, bone pain, a broken bone that happens unexpectedly, abdominal pain and weight loss.

Speaking to this newspaper in November, Mr Ward urged anyone to see their doctor if they have symptoms.

Mrs Ward said: "Sarcoma is quite rare and can be overlooked, so he wanted people to know if they found a hard lump that it is definitely worth getting it checked out by a doctor."

The GoFundMe page will remain open for now at www.gofundme.com/f/help-pay-for-toms-cancer-treatment?member=14877723.