By KATE McINERNY
I could never have imagined writing this article a year ago. That is the impact that losing someone you love to cancer has on you. It changes your life. It makes you appreciate the small, seemingly insignificant moments and pushes you out of your comfort zone.
My father, Frank McInerny, lost his battle to prostate cancer two months ago, a week shy of both Christmas and my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary. It was a devastating blow to my family, who are all extremely close, to lose such a big personality and influential person in our lives. But we were lucky to have dad for as long as we did.
When he was first diagnosed the cancer had already spread to his bones and lymph nodes. Both dad and I were nurses and sadly understood what that meant, that it was just a matter of time. I say dad lost his battle, and I mean that. Dad was determined not to let it beat him, and with the support of his medical team and a number of trial medical treatments, dad’s one year sentence got extended.
He got to be there for the birth of his grandchildren, holidays with my mum, see my sister and I graduate and watch my brothers become first home owners. He would have missed all these milestone events if it wasn’t for the extra time he was given, the support of prostate cancer research and, of course, his courageous willpower.
Dad devoted his remaining time to contributing to supporting prostate cancer research. He participated anyway he could to help others. Since his passing, I have wanted to continue his efforts. This is why I have decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s SAVE A MAN Kilimanjaro Challenge in October 2014.
My dad endured a gruelling physical challenge and showed unwavering courage, determination and strength. My climb to the peak nearly 6 kilometres above sea level will test these very same qualities in myself and will raise money and awareness for a disease that claims close to 3,300 men every year.