Gareth Greenwood Hope Tribute Fund

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Gareth Greenwood was born on November 1, 1975. The story of his life came to an abrupt end long before it should have done. Part of the huge sadness and emptiness felt by his friends and family is for the loss of the many years when Gareth should have been having fun, achieving successes, enjoying new experiences and challenges and living his dreams.
Gareth lived for just 33 years. The agony felt by his family is matched only by the shock of losing him to malignant melanoma so quickly. It seemed as if one minute he was here, strong and determined and the next he was gone. Losing him is still raw even now but getting involved in fund raising for research in to malignant melanoma has helped us to look forward.
Gareth was born on November 1st 1975 just 10 minutes after his twin brother Philip. From the word go he was full of energy. He seemed to have burst in on life and was determined to make the most of it. He loved school and did very well in all subjects, finally achieving 9 GCSEs. He did well in sport, playing golf and football and was an excellent gymnast. He was also a strong swimmer and loved any water sports. He seemed to be fearless and tireless.

After school he worked for British Car Auctions and after being there 7 years went in to the family business, Lockwood & Greenwood Ltd Audenshaw. He developed a passion for fishing and also for travelling. Combining the two with fishing expeditions to Thailand was just his most perfect trip.

He had many friends and we will be forever grateful for their support and bravery when he was so unwell. They were amazing.

Gareth was not a sun worshipper and although he loved hot countries, he would always wear sun screen and cover up. He had never been on a sun bed. Indeed, he had from being 11, developed a reaction to the sun which meant he always had to wear a very high factor sun block.
In 2007 however, a mole on his back turned ugly and had obviously changed shape and texture. He mentioned it but for months ignored all advice to go to the GP. When in August 2007 he eventually went, he was immediately referred to Tameside Hospital where they removed it and the passed him on to Christies. They cleared a bigger area around the site and seemed confident that they had removed all the cancer.
Then in October 2008 Gareth developed a lump under his arm. He didn't mention it but insisted that he and his brother went on another fishing trip to Thailand. They caught some huge fish. On his return he went back to Tameside and was immediately referred to Christies again. Within a couple of days he was undergoing surgery. When the wound had healed we returned to see the surgeon who explained that they had removed a huge slab of nodules and there was certainly no more that could be cut away, it was now up to the medical team. He was put in the care of Dr Lorigan's team. All that day he was given scans and tests and we returned on December 17th for the results. That meeting with Jackie Hodgetts will haunt me forever. She had the miserable task of tellng us that Gareth could not be cured. He was so strong and healthy with a good metabolism, that the cancer had spread very aggressively. It was now in his liver and his lungs. He was in dreadful pain but all they could do was administer palliative care. The letter to the GP, which Gareth never saw, told us he only had weeks to live.
He thought he had 12 months and he was determined to make the most of every moment. He had one dose of palliative chemotherapy on December 22nd but was never fit enough to attend Christie's again. Yet still he was walking and trying to spend time with his friends. Christmas Day was so hard but he did manage to celebrate and sent us all cards. On Saturday he even walked around Dove Stone reservoir with his friend Rachael and his little dog Arthur. Arthur was a rescue dog that Gareth had taken in. He was in really bad shape and Gareth called him Arthur because he was only 'half a dog!' He was in a lot of pain and on a high dosage of morphine but he had managed the two and a half miles on a chilly December day. He was determined to get well and tried to eat and exercise and keep his energy levels up. By Monday however the pain was unbearable and he had to go into Willow Wood Hospice. He was never to come out of there. Just six days later he lost his battle and we had lost him forever.

It is an unbearable loss and if by raising awarenes or contributing money for research we can stop one more young person dying in this way then that at least will help a little.We are indebted to the staff at Christies and Dr Parry from Tameside as well as Gareth's GP's Dr Kokiet and Dr Murray. All of them acted with speed and professionism to try to ward off this terrible illness.

We are determined that Gareth will never be forgotten and we are proud to raise money in his name. Gareth's father Gordon and his partner Eileen, Gareth's brother Philp and Chris and I have had wonderful support from friends and family. Without them we would not have gor this far. Gareth showed such determination and courage and he has inspired us all to make a real difference in the treatment of malignant melanoma in his name. It will be a fitting tribute to a young man who you could never ignore when he was alive and will never ever be forgotten now he is no longer with us.
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