Grandpa has ‘The Cance’.
Graham and Jeanette Ferguson’s four-year-old granddaughter Emily is talking about her most beloved bear Fergus.
“He has ‘The Cance’ like Grandpa, and he is very skinny so make sure you don’t hug him too tight because you will hurt his bones.”
Emily attaches a mask to Fergus’ head so that he doesn’t get any germs because ‘germs can make him dead’. Emily has been regularly role playing ‘The Cance’ since her mum Karina and Dad Tim broke the news that her Grandpa was sick. Emily is one of nine beautiful Ferguson grandchildren, ranging in age from four to twenty-one.
“Keanna, Jay, Luke, Amelia, Sam, Georgia, Alex, Jack and Emily, half of them call me Paga and the others call me Grandpa. We see them all the time, we’re very lucky,” says Graham.
The upstairs of their two story home at Albany Creek is set up to house their four children (Lee, Ricky, Tarcia and Karina), their partners (Jenni, Jazzy, Tim 1 and Tim 2) and their grandchildren whenever they wish to stay.
They are all looking forward to spending Christmas together – it will be their last with Graham.
“My family is the most important thing in my life, there’s nothing better than having my grandchildren climb up on the couch next to me to watch TV. It’s the little things, “ says Graham.
Graham was 63 when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in February 2015. In a rare complication, a tumour was discovered in his heart a year later and tumours were subsequently found in his brain. He is now being cared for at home by Karuna.
“It was a total shock, we were all devastated, there were no signs,” says Jeanette. “We are a very close knit family and this has been a real shock for us all. We used to think that this kind of thing only happened to other people, but now we are the other people.”
Graham continued to work for 12 months after his cancer diagnosis but for the past 18 months he’s relished the time at home, the serenity of the bushland behind their house and the comfort of being able to have family come and go.
“One of the positives of this disease has been stepping away from work. I feel lucky to have had this time – family holidays, days at the beach, out for coffee with my girls.”
“I couldn’t have had this time without Karuna.”
Jeanette says Karuna has been a life-line for her and their family. “Knowing that we have nurses on call and counsellors to go to is a relief. We don’t have to worry about getting Graham to the hospital in the middle of the night, we know that we can call Karuna and a nurse will be here.”
“It’s a wonderful service, we feel very blessed.”