Man reveals heartbreaking moment he told girlfriend they won’t grow old together

The heartbreaking moment a man told his girlfriend they would never grow old together has been revealed.

Phillip Brightmore, 32, was recently diagnosed with myeloma, a rare terminal blood cancer mostly seen in much older people, and said he discovered it “by accident”.

The Liverpool Echo reported he has two years to live and Phillip, 32, described the emotional day back in May that he revealed his condition to girlfriend of six years, Jayne.

“I remember the day very keenly,” he said.

“I was very shocked, as you can imagine. On leaving the Royal Liverpool Hospital, I called my girlfriend, and about an hour later we met as we always do after work on the docks, and there I told her of my condition.

“I remember at the time – we like to watch the Mersey and the ships come in – a cruise ship had just moored, and people were ambling on and off the ship.

“There was an elderly couple going on, and we watched them holding hands and boarding together, and we were just so upset because we knew that would never be us.”

When asked if Jayne, 28, would stand by him after learning about the cancer, Phillip told BBC Radio Merseyside: “Every step of the way. I love her very much.”

A complex blood cancer originating in the bone marrow, Phillip’s condition is known to be difficult for health care officials to diagnose.

It is “treatable, not curable”, with 17,000 people living with it in the UK – the vast majority over the age of 65, and he said: “At the age of 32, it’s been a while since I’ve been told I’m young for something.”

Describing how he found out about his condition, Phillip described discovering the condition as an “accident”.

He explained: “Six months to a year ago, I started undergoing tests for food allergies and it was during those that I had a blood test that returned a protein.

“I was told that protein would turn to cancer in one in 1,000 people – but that other indicators were good, so I should not be unduly concerned.

"The only way to know was to go through a bone marrow biopsy. So I did that, but I hadn’t told my family I was being investigated for any things, let alone cancer.”

After being diagnosed in spring, he was told he had two years to live, but added: “Since that time, I have been tested every six weeks, and doctors have determined that they don’t wish to start me on chemotherapy just yet.”

When asked if he had rationalised the situation, he said he had tried to take a “stoic” approach.

“The way I see it is that I had the condition prior to doctors informing me, so in a way, all I have gained is knowledge. How can that be a bad thing?” he added.

Now Phillip wants to not only raise awareness of the condition, but also urge others with any symptoms that could be cancer to get them looked at.

He said: “If you suspect you have any symptoms that could be at all linked to cancer, I want to get it across that it’s extremely important you get checked.

“If you are unfortunate enough to be diagnosed, I want you to know it’s not the end. That life can continue and you can fight it, and sometimes, you can even win.”

Once doctors decide to start Phillip on chemotherapy, they will do so “to the point where the cancer is deemed to have been reduced or under control”, before advising for a stem cell transplant.

Stem cells are the body’s primary cells and all other cells, tissue, organs and bones develop from them.

Phillip stressed the importance of donating them, adding: “Most people who donate anything probably save a life, but with stem cells, you almost certainly do.”

He said he didn’t see himself as an unlucky person, adding: “I have been extremely fortunate. It just happens to be the case that I’ve had this challenge thrown my way. It’s something I’m determined to combat.”

In terms of his role as a councillor, Phillip has recently written to residents in his ward and other local members to explain his condition, and said he was “overwhelmed by how supportive they have been”.

He is determined to continue in his role as a local councillor, and added: “It’s a very stressful job, but a lot of jobs are.

"I remember at the time when I was first diagnosed, it did make me question what I was doing, but at the time I thought if I stopped, I would sink, and now I have settled into the fact I have got this condition.”

Confirming that he will stand for re-election in May, Phillip, who is also the cabinet member for leisure and recreation, added: “Being a councillor is something I love doing, and it seems people want me to keep doing it.”

Taking a philosophical stance on his condition, he said: “It is likely to end my life someday, but it cannot be permitted to stop me living my life now. One in two will be touched by cancer, so we cannot let it defeat us.”

He also took time to praise “really close friend” Matthew Patrick, a former Wirral councillor who recently left his political position for a job in London.

After Phillip told him about his condition, Matthew voluntarilty donated his stem cells to someone with the condition in London.

He added: “It’s a remarkable thing to do – I‘m really proud of Matthew.”

For more information about myeloma, or to make a donation to Myeloma UK, click here.

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