'He is sick but very resilient': Fundraiser for man’s cancer treatment

Karl Hyden’s family have been raising money for his specialised treatment for colon cancer. Sarah Horgan speaks to his wife Kay Waldron about her husband’s wish to be able to hold his granddaughter for the first time when she’s born next month
'He is sick but very resilient': Fundraiser for man’s cancer treatment

Kay Waldron with her husband Karl Hyden who is the focus of a campaign to raise vital funds for his medical treatment in the UK

FUNDS are being raised for the treatment of a terminally ill man as he battles to hold his new granddaughter for the first time.

Karl Hyden, who turns 60 this Monday, has been fighting colon cancer for four years. The family, including Karl’s children — William, Kathryn, and Mark, have been raising funds through a Gofundme account to secure treatment which he regularly undergoes in the UK.

They are now just €3,000 away from their €22,000 target.

Karl’s wife, Kay, who lives with him in Castleblagh outside Fermoy, is issuing a fresh appeal to the public to help get them over the line.

It comes as doctors in Cork say Karl has exhausted all treatment options, both surgical or otherwise, in Ireland. Chemotherapy is no longer an option due to the risk of excess radiation.

Funds being raised will allow Karl to continue Mistletoe infusions in the UK which is a licensed integrative medical treatment unavailable in Ireland.

Karl is also attending Cork’s Mercy Hospital to secure the best medical care possible.

His wife Kay Waldron spoke of how their new granddaughter, due next month, has given the mental toughness coach another reason to keep fighting.

She credits their three grandchildren for helping them keep smiling.

“We call them our smile sources,” Kay said.

“They give us that shot of serotonin that we need. We said from the start that we wouldn’t mention the word ‘cancer’ around them.

“The last thing we wanted was for them to grow up with those memories.”

She described the difference the treatments are making to Karl’s life already.

“You wonder how so someone so sick could look so well. Doctors [said] that while he is very ill, he is still very high functioning.

“We know that this is not a miracle cure but it will prolong his life.

“Before, if he had four good days in a month we were lucky. Now, if we have four bad days in a month it’s an anomaly.

“He has energy. He can drive again. If he wasn’t going to Scotland I don’t believe that Karl would be alive today.

“He is a sick man, but he is also a very resilient man.”

The family have celebrated a series of milestones since Karl’s diagnosis.

“When he first started chemo he wasn’t given a great prognosis. He kept repeating that he wanted to hold his grandson.

Now, he’s saying that he wants to hold his granddaughter and the goal after that will be Christmas.

“It’s a lonely road, but it’s a lonely road for everybody. We want this as much as he does.”

She opened up about the excitement around the birth of their granddaughter next month.

“This is giving us a new focus for him to stay alive for Christmas. Karl is very resilient.

“He doesn’t believe he is going to die from this. We are trying to save his life and this treatment is the best chance we have.”

Kay described how the cost-of-living crisis and hike in fuel prices have brought their own challenges.

“It is taking a lot of work behind the scenes to make up the shortfall. So much has changed. His treatment now requires a two-week stay.”

“However, we have asked for what we have asked for and have no intention of increasing our goal.”

The Cork woman said that people can help out in a number of ways.

“People can help us by pocket, by prayer or by passing the word.

“It’s not all about money.

“We know that with the cost-of-living crisis it’s not going to be possible for everyone to donate. A prayer can help just as much, if not more, than a donation.”

Kay praised Karl’s resilience.

“I don’t believe that people are strong or strong or weak.

“Calling people strong can be unhelpful at times because bring strong doesn’t mean your inner core feels any less heartbreak.

“I do believe, however, in resilience. Karl picks himself up every time he gets knocked down and will continue to do so.”

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