Gary on reaching out

Gary and Mike talking in the garden
Gary and Mike talking in the garden

Gary's treatment for mouth cancer left him unable to speak and some days he was too tired to get off the sofa.

His friend Mike popped round to watch movies with him. For Gary, it meant the world that someone was there for him.

Gary's story

Mike and Gary first met at work a few years ago, and then bonded through a shared love of photography. After his treatment for mouth cancer, Gary found it more difficult to pursue his hobbies. 'I couldn't get out to take pictures any more, I didn't have the strength, I wasn't well enough. The one thing I could do was watch movies, and the one person I knew who'd be insane enough to sit through them with me was Mike.'

When Gary came out of hospital he found it difficult, especially because he was unable to talk due to his treatment. 'You can become insular. Whether it’s loneliness, I don’t know. It might be self-pity, or it might be just being sort of maudlin, being morose.' 

'You can't stay in 24 hours a day and not think about what's going wrong with you. You have to have something to distract yourself from that, and it's very difficult to distract yourself.'

Mike didn't consider that he was doing anything special. 'As far as I was concerned I was just a friend popping round and watching a film, having coffee and cake and stuff like that and going home again.'

'What Mike doesn't realise is, that's enough. I knew there was someone to take the Mickey out of me and you need that. It means so much.'

Read more about the small acts of kindness you can do for someone this World Cancer Day >

Gary in the hospital waiting room

Watch: Gary and Mike talk about their friendship

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Watch: Gary and Mike talk about their friendship