Terminally ill man completes bucket list by visiting 18 countries

2019-02-17 08:39
PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA.

PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA.

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A terminally ill man has become a globetrotter to complete his bucket list of visiting 18 countries.

Richard Preston (49) was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumour called glioblastoma multiforme in 2013 and was given just 10 months to live.

But the dad-of-one refused to give up on his dreams, even after enduring a risky five-and-half-hour operation and 11 months of gruelling chemotherapy.

Since realising his time was running out he's travelled to destinations including Hawaii, Australia, China and Russia and even married his partner of 25 years, Wendy (48).

The former technical specialist, from Waterlooville in Hampshire, Britain, said, "It all started with a slight headache in the back of my left eye so I initially just thought I needed glasses.

"But when the pain continued for two weeks I was sent by my doctors for further tests.

"After scans they firmly told me I wasn't going anywhere – I had the most aggressive brain tumour and it was likely to grow back even if it was removed.

"It was worrying but my outlook has always been, if you can't fix it, don't worry about it."

Richard said that instead of stressing out, he decided to propose to his girlfriend of 25 years.

"Organising the wedding distracted me. We began the bucket list straight away because I'd told myself, I've got to do this now before it's too late."

The couple are determined to make every moment count and are refusing to let Richard's grade four tumour – the worst possible diagnosis – pause his life.

The dad's bucket list was finally completed last July but despite his future being uncertain, he's delighted to have fulfilled all his lifelong dreams.

Now preparing for his 50th birthday in March – an incredible five years on from his diagnosis – Richard and Wendy have made it their mission to travel the world again after their lavish wedding.

And having survived for more than five years past his life expectancy, he now sees every day as a new bucket list opportunity.

"We first went on a cruise round the central Med. Now we've been to Germany, Italy, Hawaii, Spain, China and have just added Cambodia and Vietnam to that list," Richard said.

"My best memory by far was the week I went to Hawaii and a volcano had just erupted. It had always been my dream to see lava.

"We booked a helicopter over it, saw it all bubbling – it was amazing.

"I've lived for five years more than doctors predicted and I've got to celebrate five years with my wife.

"I'm lucky – I know I'm still terminally ill but all I can do is hope for no more growth.”

At the moment Richard's brain is technically cancer-free, but doctors believe it will grow back as it's so aggressive – it's just a case of when.

"Only 20% of patients diagnosed with a tumour as severe as mine live past five years, but I'm showing no sign of slowing down. Everything I do, everywhere I go now is a bonus."

Richard is working with the Brain Tumour Research charity to share his story ahead of national brain tumour awareness month in Britain this March.

Said Hugh Adams, the charity's spokesperson, "We have great admiration for Richard’s positivity and are extremely grateful to him for sharing his inspiring story which gives hope to others and drives us on to continue our work to highlight the issues around brain tumours and funding groundbreaking research in order to improve treatment options and, ultimately, find a cure."

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