“You have cancer” – it’s the worst thing you could possibly be told on your birthday.
While most of us could not even imagine hearing those words, for Newcastle’s Richard Warren, it was a hard reality earlier this year.
“What happened was on 19 May, Richard’s birthday, he was doing some errands and when he was stopped in a carpark, he had a seizure and [was taken] straight to hospital,” his wife Daniela said.
“A CAT scan showed a tumour, so he went to the Mater Hospital and into surgery where the doctors discovered it was grade four brain cancer, or GBD.”
The diagnosis had an immediate and devastating impact on Richard’s family – Daniela and their two sons, seven-year-old Thomas and five-year-old Max had to watch him go through surgery and take on the fight of his life.
Richard is still fighting as hard as he can and, while no one is sure of what his future holds, the family is focused on spending as much time as possible together.
“I want to get back to work and back to normal, which is easier said than done,” Richard said.
“I feel really good [some days] and then other days I just don’t want to get out of bed – every day is a different day, but I just step forward, I’ll get there.”
For Daniela, the diagnosis also meant taking on three jobs to help the family survive because Richard could no longer work as a bus driver.
“I’m working three jobs to make ends meet – it is very draining, both mentally and physically,” Daniela said.
Richard appreciates all that she does and wishes he could do more.
“She’s run off her feet big time, having two kids, working and the fact that I can’t drive now makes it hard,” he said.
However, help is on the way for the family.
Richard’s former workmates saw that they needed help and have planned a fundraiser for this Sunday 20 December at Bistro 63 in Kahibah.
The Blues Bus Band is hoping to raise funds to help give the family some financial relief and support for Christmas.
The band, alongside performers Baracuda and Fat Knuckle, will be playing live music, with food and raffle tickets also available at the event.
“I am blown away that his work has gone to this extreme, starting a GoFundMe and hosting the event,” Daniela said.
“It’s amazing what people do when things like this happen.
“We would be so grateful if people could donate – I am doing what I can, but it is tough.”
Richard says he is very excited for the event and even has a Santa suit coming in the mail to help him stand out and bring some joy and laughter.
“It is going to be a great time,” he said.
“I am blown away by the support, it is not what I expected at all.”
Tickets for the Richard for Christmas event are $25, with all proceeds being donated to the Warren’s.
The Blues Bus Band invite anyone to come along and support the great cause; any funds raised are greatly appreciated.