Friends team up for event to help Cornard cancer sufferer enjoy one final holiday

GREAT CORNARD: Fundraiser event for terminally ill man
The Stevenson Centre
organisers of event for Steve Rooks who has terminal cancer, Joanne Cleverley, Caitlin Meuser, Millie Boyce, Mia Rook, Toby Rook, Ned Boyce, Philippa Rook and Simon Edney.
Picture Mark Westley
GREAT CORNARD: Fundraiser event for terminally ill man The Stevenson Centre organisers of event for Steve Rooks who has terminal cancer, Joanne Cleverley, Caitlin Meuser, Millie Boyce, Mia Rook, Toby Rook, Ned Boyce, Philippa Rook and Simon Edney. Picture Mark Westley
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A group of friends are hoping to help a terminally ill man spend one last holiday with his family by holding a fundraising family day in Great Cornard.

Steve Rook, from Nursery Road, Great Cornard, was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in January 2016.

After hearing the cancer had spread earlier this year, a group of friends set about organising a fundraising event which will take place next weekend at the Stevenson Centre.

Steve’s wife Philippa, 44, said: “It’s pretty amazing. I was really surprised.

“Until something like this happens, you don’t realise how many people care for you. It’s quite humbling really. In such a bad time, it’s so nice to have some good going on.”

Between them, the couple have eight children and two grandchildren and Philippa said the plan would be to go on one final holiday together or some day trips out.

“Even if it’s just one last weekend break away, like when the children were little. But Steve is unable to go out of the house at the moment because he is so poorly.”

The 43-year-old will have an operation tomorrow to put in a stent as one of a stomach tumour is preventing him from eating.

“After that, we hope to get some meat back on his bones,” added Philippa.”

“We haven’t asked how long we’ve got. We don’t want to know. We just want to live day-by-day, enjoying that time. It’s not nice to think this could be the end.”

The Steve ‘Rookie’ Rooks fundraising event takes place on May 13 from 2pm.

There will be refreshments, games, show cars, nail and face painting and a charity auction, with lots including a rugby ball signed by England head coach Eddie Jones.

Philippa said the event would also serve as a way of raising awareness, with a stall about pancreatic cancer and a percentage of the proceeds used to support research into the disease.

“It has one of the worst survival rates,” she said. “It’s appalling, it’s really bad.

“It’s known as the silent killer as there are virtually no symptoms until after it’s too late.

“If he had known, Steve could have caught it earlier but, by the time he was diagnosed, it was already stage 4.

Simon Edney, 43, who is one of the organisers of the event, said: “I’ve known Steve for 20 years. He’s had a really rough time and I just want to help the family to get him through it.

“They never ask for anything and they are such a nice family, so it’s good to help.

“It’s just good community spirit. Everyone wants to get involved to help Steve.”