Iris’ Story

Julia shares her mother, Iris' story

Julia’s mother Iris passed away due to stomach cancer. Wishing to discover what crucial work and research Guts UK were doing into digestive cancers, Julia called Team Guts UK to discuss leaving a charitable gift in her Will.

“I would say Mum was typical of her generation, stoical, strong, dependable, extremely loyal, fun loving but most of all very kind and loving.

Mum was eight years old when WW2 broke out and was evacuated along with her elder sister. They had a horrendous time, which she never really talked about but the experience did not visibly overshadow or affect her life. Evacuation aside, Mum had a happy and fulfilling life. Although she started work at fourteen, I think this helped shape the person she became.

Mum met my dad when she was 21, they married a few years later and remained happily married for their entire lives (my dad died of mesothelioma of the stomach aged 61). Mum never remarried. Mum was independent, always very active, loved cycling and walking until vascular dementia took hold, when she eventually had to go into a home.

Mum had various digestive problems some years ago. She had every test and scan imaginable, but was never right since. She had pancreatitis and a neo-endocrine tumour (which turned out to be benign) but not cancer.

Months on, I had mum looked at by the GP numerous times as she was losing weight, not eating and drinking. We kept asking her if she was in pain and Mum said she wasn’t. Things were made doubly difficult due to the dementia and the fact that she had an incredibly high pain threshold.

I only found out Mum had stomach cancer when she was admitted to hospital one weekend after numerous visits by the GP, at my insistence. I was told that the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs and there was nothing they could do! Mum died 4 weeks to the day after we received the diagnosis.

It was utterly heart-breaking, as she did not, and could not, understand why she was feeling the way she was.  It was soul-destroying knowing there was nothing in the world I, or anybody else, could do. I asked the surgeon if he would have been able to do anything if she was 30 years younger (as mum was 87 at the time). He said no.

I have chosen to support Guts UK’s work into stomach cancer as Guts UK focus on the digestive system in particular. There is a lot of support for more high profile cancers such as breast, prostate and so on, with emphasis on early diagnosis, but there is nothing similar for stomach cancer. When I asked if Mum’s cancer was hereditary, nobody could answer that, which frightens me. If my Mum, who was active and lived a healthy lifestyle until dementia took hold, what hope is there for the rest of us!”

Let your values live on

Our guts have been underfunded, understaffed and undervalued for decades.

Our research has the capacity to diagnose earlier, develop new, kinder treatments and ultimately discover a cure. Thanks to Julia’s support, we will join forces to bring about important change in this misunderstood area of health.

Help scientists turn curiosity into life-changing discovery by leaving a small gift in your will to Guts UK. 

It’s time the UK got to grips with guts.

To discuss leaving a gift in your will to Guts UK, call us on 0207 486 0341 or email – we’d be delighted to hear from you.