Man who lost wife to cancer devastated as new love diagnosed with the disease

A man found love again after he lost his first wife to cancer, but now his current partner is suffering from the disease too.

Craig Sivorn and Claire Rumsey brought their wedding forward earlier this month after Claire was diagnosed with cancer.

Craig’s wife of 30 years, Maxine, sadly died of brain cancer after fighting the disease for 12 years.

She had had tumours removed twice and chemotherapy and radiotherapy twice. Craig said that Maxine’s last 12 months were “very hard” as she couldn’t be treated anymore and so she was gradually deteriorating.

He said that with the help of Chesterfield’s Ashgate Hospice, they made the best of it they could and managed to travel to Australia to let Maxine see their first granddaughter, Lily.

He said: “We had been married for 30 years when Maxine passed away following a few final weeks in Ashgate Hospice in 2017.”

After losing Maxine, Craig, 57, found love again with Claire, 55.

After three years of engagement, they planned to hold their dream wedding in Edinburgh this July, but then their world came crashing down when she was diagnosed with cancer.

The couple, from Langwith, north east Derbyshire, have been hit with blow after blow as Claire’s health deteriorated and their dreams for the future were shattered.

Craig said: “From the original diagnosis to the further blows that followed we have felt like it’s one step forward then two steps back.

“We are devastated by the news we have received over the past few months, all our dreams of travelling, retiring, doing all the things couples do together were shattered.

“Claire has been very positive throughout, but frightened to get too excited when something goes right because of all the bad luck we’ve had.

“Claire had a CT scan to see if she had a trapped nerve that was causing her back pain, this scan revealed the cancer at the base of her spine and in her lymph nodes.

It was identified that the cancer was secondary and a further scan was required to find the primary cancer, this was identified as colorectal cancer.

“The oncologists offered radiotherapy treatment for the secondary cancer to be followed by chemotherapy for the primary bowel cancer, with the possibility of being okay for two to five years.”

After radiotherapy all seemed to be going well, she was set to start chemotherapy when severe stomach pain sent her into hospital.

The cancer caused Claire’s intestines to rupture – surgery removed part of her lower intestine and now she has a Stoma bag, although surgery could not remove all of the infection.

Due to infection and having to be on antibiotics, it is too risky for Claire to undergo chemotherapy.

Craig said: “At this point we were informed that Claire’s life was likely to be only months, so we were advised by doctors to cancel our July wedding and bring it forward.

“With the help of Ashgate Hospice staff, family and friends we were able to pull the wedding together in three weeks. Our thanks to Ashgate Hospice for the excellent care they have provided us whilst Claire needed respite.

“We were determined that we wouldn’t let cancer get in the way, it had destroyed enough of our dreams, so when I asked Claire to marry me on our Valentines card this year Claire said yes again.”

The well-known end of life hospice care facility, Ashgate Hospicecare, in Chesterfield helped the couple to have a day that Claire described as one they will “always remember”.

She described it as a “really special day”.

Claire added: “Only six people were allowed at the registry office due to Covid, so it was just me, Craig, our two witnesses and their partners.

“As a surprise for me all but one of my thirteen brothers and sisters gathered outside the town hall, so when we came out after the ceremony it was a brilliant surprise for me, especially as my 97-year-old mum was there.

“We then went home where our kids and a couple of family members had a little celebration.”

Now that restrictions are beginning to lift, the couple hope to get back to normal for her remaining time.

Claire said: “We have evenings watching TV, visits from family and friends. We try to get out when possible now that Covid regulations are reduced and look forward to hopefully having a few nights away when permitted, pending my health.”