When Johnny, a GP in Belfast, lost his wife Lynda to ovarian cancer, he found reading ‘her little famous pink diary’ inspired him to be there for other people affected by cancer.
‘There was a passage which said “I was never lonely in my life except now with this awful disease which no one can share with me.” It made me realise even for someone so well loved it’s a very lonely condition.’
Johnny and Linda had been married for over 35 years when Lynda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in August 2007. ‘I felt shocked,’ Johnny said, ‘We shed a few tears. But I knew Lynda was very determined.’
It was the loneliness that Lynda described which hit Johnny hardest. ‘As a carer I didn’t think about loneliness. Now as a Macmillan GP adviser I’m so much more aware of it because of what Lynda wrote.’
Macmillan was there alongside Johnny to make sure Lynda didn’t have to face cancer alone. ‘Lynda’s Macmillan nurse was great and she also went to a health and beauty day which really lifted her spirits.’
And her experience had a profound effect on Johnny, inspiring him to take on the role of Macmillan GP adviser. ‘I actually got the job three months before she died. She knew it meant a lot to me and I think it meant a lot to her too.’
to help us to be there to make sure nobody has to face cancer alone.