WHEN Amanda Wilks married her husband Tony in 2007 she never thought she would be a widow by 27.
She never thought her children Steven, 4, and Isabell, 2, would be without a dad.
Mrs Wilks said her husband had complained of bad indigestion for years.
“He’d eat a packet of Quick Ease a day and just refused to go to a doctor,” she said.
In November 2011he discovered he had a blot clot in his leg. Mrs Wilks rushed him to hospital but by the time they discovered he had a rockmelon sized tumour in his stomach it was too late.
“They did some chemo and they let him come home for Christmas but they said they didn’t think he’d make it to New Year’s,” she said.
Mr Wilks’ determination to spend time with his children kept him going until June 23. Mrs Wilks said she was lost without the love of her life.
“It’s so hard to come home and there’s nobody there,” she said.
“There’s nobody in the chair next to you, there’s nobody in the car next to you and there is nobody in the bed next to you. It’s getting harder.”
Mrs Wilks cannot cope living in Orange anymore.
She says everything about Orange reminds her of the future she had planned with her husband, a life that might have been if he had gone to the doctor years ago.
“Whenever we drive up Peisley Street, Isabell asks, ‘are we going to see daddy?’” she said.
“I have to explain to her that daddy isn’t there anymore.”
Mrs Wilks said Steven was terrified when her heard Isabell needed to go to hospital to have grommets put in.
“I had to explain to him that daddy had cancer before he went to hospital, the hospital didn’t give him cancer,” she said.
Mrs Wilks said she hounded her husband to see a doctor.
“His indigestion caused the cancer, if he had seen a doctor, then maybe.”
Mrs Wilks said the only reason he agreed to go to the hospital in the end was because he had a family history of blood clots.
“By the time we got him there he couldn’t put his foot to the ground, it was too painful,” she said.
“They gave him an emergency gastroscopy and found he was bleeding internally and the cancer was in his lymphnodes.”
Mrs Wilks said her husband would have given the shirt of his back to anyone in need. She said she missed the companionship the most.
“I just miss having someone to talk to,” she said.
For information call the cancer helpline 131120.
Goodstart Early Learning Centre room leader Karen Eagleston said Mrs Wilks’ story nearly broke her heart. Since January, she has looked after Mrs Wilks’ children at the centre so she could be at home with Tony.
The centre decided to throw a ball in September to raise awareness for men’s health.
Ms Eagleston said she wanted to get the message out there that people need to see a doctor at the first sign of illness.
“Anything we can do to help we will,” she said.
The ball is on September 15 at the Orange Ex-services Club. Ms Eagleston said the centre need businesses to come on board with prizes for the raffle.
All proceeds from the ball will go to the Cancer Council. Tickets available from Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Kite Street.
To donate go to www.doyourthing.com.au.