Community rallies around Duncan

THE business community has rallied, Backyard Blitz style, to help a terminal cancer patient fulfill a final wish as part of his life's bucket list.

In February, the Lake Times profiled 43-year-old cancer patient Duncan Meadley. 

Last June, the Shell Cove resident was diagnosed with stage four gastroesophageal cancer, with metastases in his lungs, liver, lymph nodes and aorta. 

Shell Cove resident Duncan Meadley.

Shell Cove resident Duncan Meadley.

He was given a poor prognosis, but doctors were surprised by his response to chemotherapy.

Mr Meadley said doctors had informed him his estimated chance of survival was at best 0.1 per cent.

In January there was another unfortunate discovery.

Three brain tumours were discovered after writing off his car in an accident.

While undergoing treatment, he has been enjoying spending time with his wife/carer, Gabrielle, and sons Ronan, 12, Rorey, 9, and Maxwell, 6.

Mrs Meadley said her husband’s condition had vastly deteriorated during the previous two weeks. 

“It’s just a matter of time,” she said.

Gabrielle Meadley with sons Ronan, Rorey and Maxwell, with Innovative Pools and Spas owner Shannon Micallef.

Gabrielle Meadley with sons Ronan, Rorey and Maxwell, with Innovative Pools and Spas owner Shannon Micallef.

‘There’s nothing more the doctors can do, and no timeframe. 

“We only found out last Thursday. 

“The brain tumours aren’t responding to treatment.

“It’s just come back with a vengeance; the chemo’s not working anymore.” 

Mrs Meadley said the family had planned to have a pool built.

This would allow Mr Meadley, who suffers from hand-foot syndrome to have some form of exercise. 

However, the rapid deterioration of his condition meant it was uncertain whether it would be completed in time. 

“It meant a lot to Duncan; this is kind of his legacy,” Mrs Meadley said.

“This means a lot to him, to know he’s leaving his boys a nice home.”

Mrs Meadley said she had been stunned by a “cast of thousands”, enlisted by Innovative Pools and Spas owner Shannon Micallef who had worked during the past few weeks to complete the pool as soon as possible.

“Shannon dropped everything and made Duncan’s pool the priority,” Mrs Meadley said.

“Shannon could see him getting sicker and sicker.

“He’s been asking people to help, and they’ve all come in and helped.

“It’s like Backyard Blitz… It brings a tear to your eye.”  

Mr Micallef said he met Mr Meadley a few months earlier.

He called on his business contacts to provide discounted quotes and supplies, some of which offered free labour to get the work finished as soon as possible. 

Speaking on Thursday, he estimated the pool would be completed within two or three days. 

“Everyone’s gone out of their way to help,” he said.

“The contract was signed three weeks ago.”

Mr Micallef said the goal was to have work completed in time for Mr Meadley to see its completion.

“I don’t want to be a hero; I just want to get the job done for him,” he said.

“The goal is for him to see it before he passes away.” 

Mrs Meadley said the workers had gone above and beyond to help. 

“It’s just the thoughtfulness and that they care,” Mrs Meadley said. 

She hoped to have her husband back at home for palliative care within a few days.

She said the goal now was for her husband to see the finished product, and be able to use it.

“He feels like he can die happy because he’s left a legacy for the boys.

“The boys’ schooling is safe, the house is safe financially.

“We had a reaffirmation ceremony two weeks ago at Hamilton Island. 

“He’s accepting of it… But he’s devastated at leaving his boys. 

“He feels like his life’s been his bucket list.” 

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