Clive Ham, my dad, was 56 when he was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. We never imagined that within 4 years of being diagnosed my dad would lose his fight against this terrible, devastating disease.
Dad had always been very active and joined the police cadets at the age of 17. This involved dad taking part in sporting activities like abseiling, kayaking and mountain climbing which he loved to do. Dad was an outdoors person and loved his time as a cadet. From there, he then went on to work in the police force where he stayed for 43 years. Dad was an extremely hard worker and dedicated to his job, but he always found time for his family. Growing up, my brother and I were very fortunate to be taken to so many different places and experience so many different things. He was the person everyone looked up to, went to when we needed help and supported us in whatever life decided to throw at us. My dad was truly the greatest father, most devoted husband and kindest friend we could have ever wished for.
I could count on one hand the amount of times dad had been ill or needed to go to the doctors about something, but when he started to get a niggly cough that didn’t seem to be getting any better, dad decided to get it checked out. They referred him for breathing tests and chest x-rays and that was when we were told it was IPF. We’d never heard of IPF before so it came as a shock to all of us, but dad being dad reassured us and said it would all be fine. We knew they were going to be monitoring dad’s breathing so we weren’t too worried about it at the start. As time went on, dad had good days and bad days where the cough seemed to be unbearable for him. On days like these, he looked weak which was not like dad at all.
It was in February of this year, however, that dad’s spirits were lifted; during a routine check-up, we were told about a trial drug at UCLH which they were going to consider him for. We were pinning all our hopes on dad being accepted and he was due to go to UCLH to see Dr Porter at the end of April, a week after coming home from our holiday. Sadly, my dad passed away on Monday 7th April, a day into our holiday. He was taken too soon and we are devastated that he never got the opportunity to try this new drugs trial and have a chance of possibly feeling well again.
There was no doubt in our minds that the charity we are supporting is Breathing Matters. They do fantastic work into the research of IPF and let’s hope one day we can find a cure for this cruel disease. We are continuing our fundraising efforts and, in September, my friend Nicola is cycling from London to Paris for 4 gruelling days in memory of my dad and to help raise awareness of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Nicola’s fundraising page is http://www.justgiving.com/Nicola-Spray1, If you would like to support Nicola, we would be very grateful for your donation.
We love you and miss you so much, dad. You will always be in our thoughts and forever in our hearts. xxxxx