John Kastelan – better known as; Dad, Bill, Eve and Chuck Norris loved his girls, planes and cars! Every weekend you would find John working away in his workshop, fixing something (that was yet to be broken!), watching the mighty Penrith Panthers or telling stories that he was well known for.
Our lives changed forever when John was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in January 2016.
John’s daughter, Melanie shares his story.
With hopeful beginnings John underwent the Whipples procedure and after just one week in hospital, he was home. We were told the devastating news from the surgeon that it was Stage 4 and the cancer had already spread to his lymph nodes and a major blood vessel.
Our hero commenced six months of chemotherapy and half way through he even surprised the surgeon and the Oncologist by his progress and no reoccurrence. John even continued to do some part time work during this time, as this brought some ‘normality’ into his life where he wasn’t just a ‘cancer patient’.
Sadly, towards the end of the 6 months, the cancer markers were starting to rise again and the scan showed a new area of concern, his liver.
Both Dad and Mum were able to go on a getaway holiday just before Christmas to New Zealand before commencing yet another round of chemotherapy in January, 2017. After five rounds of chemotherapy treatment and a break for his daughter’s wedding, his abdomen was starting to swell with fluid and he was short of breath.
Following new scans, we were given the heartbreaking news that the chemotherapy was taking its toll on him. With complication of blood clots, on top of his pre-existing clots, there were now major embolisms on both of his lungs.
February has always been a big month of celebrations in our family. Starting with Valentine’s Day on 14th, quickly followed by John’s Birthday on the 18th and then on the 22nd we would celebrate Dad and Mum’s wedding anniversary.
One of John’s biggest goals was to be able to walk his eldest daughter, Yvette down the aisle. So the 26th of February, 2017 is now another very special day for us to celebrate.
The day was a celebration of love and family and will be a day that will always hold special magical moments to treasure forever for all those who attended. Despite this being one of the worst days since he was diagnosed, having to be rushed off to our local medical centre to stop his vomiting in between the ceremony and reception, John as usual, was our hero and a real trooper.
He enjoyed the day walking his daughter down the aisle, giving his heartfelt, father-of-the-bride speech and dancing with the bride. The smile permanently etched on his face in all our photos, shows his love, pride and delight of being with us.
John passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Sunday 19th March 2017, after his 14 month battle with pancreatic cancer, which he fought courageously to the end.
We’re so blessed we were able to celebrate a 63rd Birthday, 36th wedding anniversary and a wedding, but we now know that others may not be as fortunate.
We’re committed to making a difference for the wives, husbands, daughters, sons or friends affected by pancreatic cancer.
It’s scary to think that such a significant cancer has such little awareness. We were forced to face the facts when we began our fight with the beast of Pancreatic Cancer.
Both John and his youngest daughter, Melanie worked together for World Pancreatic Cancer Day in 2016 and they successfully raised $2,500. Since John’s passing, this total is currently at $10,000.
Thank you to Melanie and her family for sharing John’s story with us.