My father, Stratford Caldecott, was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in October 2011. I wrote about what that was like at the time in a piece for Verily Magazine. Life since then has been very strange. He has bravely, patiently tried every treatment available to slow down the progress of the cancer, and we have been blessed with some good – almost normal – times together, amongst the bad.
The doctors now say that dad is into the final stages of the disease, the part where your bones fracture under the slightest impact, and swelling around vital organs starts to happen for no apparent reason. They say that we only have around 12 weeks left. We have to make these 12 weeks count, and I have an idea about how we can do that.
Dad is a huge comic book fan; he collected them when he was young, and absolutely loves the Marvel films. Throughout his illness he has joked that he’ll hang on just so that he can see the next film release. When The Avengers came out he managed to get to the cinema to see it, and it made him so happy. This Spring he wasn’t well enough to get to the cinema to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the DVD release is set for August, which will probably be too late.
We’re going to try and get in touch with Marvel to ask if they can fulfil dad’s dying wish by sending us a copy of the film for him to watch at home. But I think we can go further than that. We’re also going to tweet the Avengers actors and see if they will take a picture of themselves holding a sign saying ‘Captain America/Thor/Iron Man [insert name of character here] for Strat!’ so that we can surprise him with their messages of support and encouragement.
Dad is about to face the biggest challenge of his life. Death is the greatest, most frightening adventure of them all. He is one of the good guys, worthy of superhero status himself. As Agent Coulson would say, it’s time to call for back up – let’s give him the send off he deserves.
If you have Twitter and want to get involved, please help us by tweeting this blog post to the Avengers actors, asking them to help brighten up a hero with cancer’s last days. Thank you! #CapForStrat