Family and friends of Darren Groves raised almost $1500 for Sunday’s No Stomach for Cancer walk in memory of the Warrnambool businessman who lost his two-year battle in August.
Mr Groves had been suffering from indigestion for about two years before he started to rapidly lose weight and was diagnosed with stage two stomach cancer.
“Most stomach cancer is not diagnosed until stage four because there’s no real symptoms other than indigestion which most people have when they get a bit older,” his wife Paula said.
She said they were told that his cancer, which covered the whole lining of his stomach, was curable with the total removal of his stomach.
Mr Groves underwent six rounds of chemotherapy before the gastrectomy followed by “mop-up chemo which was the hardest”.
“It’s then learning to live without a stomach,” she said.
“We had to change all our diets to what Daz could eat.”
That involved having six small meals a day, which at first was like baby food. He was eventually able to eat normal food.
“He loved food. He could never drink beer again, he could not do carbonated drinks,” she said.
“He went from 92kg to 61kg, a huge weight loss.”
More tests found another primary cancer in his bowel, so after recovering from stomach surgery and treatment he had a bowel resection.
“While they did that they found a spot (in the peritoneal area). It wasn’t showing up cancerous but they said it had all the signs of cancer. So it was just a waiting game to see if, when, how,” she said.
“Darren never thought it would do anything, so he just forged ahead and went and built another bakery,
“That was his goal. He wanted that second bakery, and he did it.”
Mrs Groves said that after their East Warrnambool Bakers Delight store opened, Darren’s health started to go down hill again.
“When it decided to go, it went quickly,” she said.
“He never gave up.”
Mrs Groves said her husband passed away on August 28, two years to the day after he was first diagnosed at age 49.
Thirteen people joined Mrs Groves for the Melbourne walk – including their 12-year-old twin daughters Charli and Jaz - and eight people walked the Warrnambool foreshore in Darren’s memory.
Mrs Groves has raised almost $1500 for the national walk which raised $16,000 Australia-wide. They plan to do the walk every year.
She also said that among the 300 people who participated in the Melbourne walk, there were some who had had their stomach’s removed as a preventative measure because they carried the hereditary gene.
To donate to the walk, visit Team Daz at www.mycause.com.au