‘We’ve been forced to accept our time together is limited’ - Devoted husband speaks about inspirational wife, aged 27, who has been living with cancer for ten years
The husband of an inspirational young woman who has been living with cancer for ten years has said she is ‘the strongest, most caring person’ he knows.
Despite her condition taking a ‘turn for the worse’ over Christmas, Anna Griffin, from Hunston, said this week: “The diagnosis of cancer is not an end to life but an invitation to live it more fully.”
The 27-year-old has also called for medical research to put more focus on rare forms of the disease.
In 2010, Anna was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma — a rare form of cancer that affects mainly children and young adults — but it was previously misdiagnosed as an abscess.
Anna said: “Early detection and diagnosis is critical to effective treatment for cancer, especially when the person is considered too young to have cancer and therefore cancer isn’t considered as a possibility.
“Investment in medical research needs to focus on rarer forms of cancer as well as the more common forms to establish specific, targeted treatments.”
Anna’s husband Sebastian said these are ‘essential and powerful messages’ which reflect the important issues which ‘lie at the heart of Anna’s fight over the last decade’.
Anna was told two years ago that her condition was without cure so decided to marry Sebastian, who had been with her since her diagnosis. In the space of a ‘whirlwind’ few weeks, they married and moved out of their home in Bognor Regis into their new place in Hunston.
Sebastian said they have just celebrated their two-year wedding anniversary ‘having not expected to make the first’.
He added: “I love Anna so much. Being on this journey with her has meant the world to me, she is the strongest, most caring person I know who has never lost her sense of living. Anna even managed to defy the surgeons’ predictions of not being able to snowboard again in 2017, just ten months after she had her right pelvis removed. Watching Anna conquer the mountain knowing what she’s had done is incredible.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey and we’ve tried to live a normal life in not normal circumstances. We have been able to achieve some amazing and positive experiences between the harder times, and looking back, it’s the good times that we remember the most.”
The couple had set up a joinery business together but, for the last year, neither have been able to work, with Sebastian, a former carpenter, becoming Anna’s full-time carer.
Sebastian said Anna’s turn for the worse left them feeling ‘extremely anxious and unprepared’, adding: “We have been forced to accept that our time together is limited.”
The pair long chose to keep their ongoing battle private but, after being left in an ‘extremely difficult financial situation,’ they recently shared their story through a fundraiser page, named ‘Anna’s funding for the end of the road’.
Generous donors helped the couple reach their £20,000 target overnight, with the total now exceeding £32,000. Describing his wife as an ‘eco warrior’, Sebastian said Anna’s ‘legacy’ is to do her bit for the environment to ‘show that life goes on’.
He added: “She’s had a chance to try various trials such as immunotherapy and alternative therapies and has adopted lifestyle changes such as healthy living and eating to help her on her journey with cancer.”
Sebastian said he hopes their story will now raise awareness of the situation and prove that terminally ill people ‘should not admit defeat’.
He added: “We are both so incredibly grateful for the support, lovely messages and donations. The fact it has helped inspire people has given Anna’s whole journey some real meaning for her.”
To read more about Anna’s story and to donate, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/annas-funding-for-the-end-of-the-road.