WARRINGTON Wolves’ legend Lee Briers went the extra mile for rugby fan Mike Allison and his bride to be Alison after hearing she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Not only did Lee turn up on the couple’s wedding day he also arranged a Silver Rolls Royce with all the trimmings to get Alison to her big day.
The couple from Orford, had brought their weddings plans forward after Alison was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer and tied the knot at Warrington Registry Office on September 30 last year.
Now following the death of his wife in January Mike has publicly thanked Lee for the wedding day surprise and “Making the best day of my life even better” and also embarked on a fundraising campaign for St Rocco’s Hospice, describing their support as “amazing.”
Mike, a lifelong Warrington fan, who converted Alison in the last season at Wilderspool, said: “Sometimes all you hear are the bad things about rugby league and the players but I will be forever grateful to Lee for this.
“I wanted to try and surprise her with something special and knew she was a big fan of Lee. So he contacted a “wonderful lady” at the Wolves, who put the wheels in motion.
“I was thinking that I could ask him to do a short video message wishing her good luck on the wedding day.
“But Lee wanted to do more. Not only did he agree to surprise my wife to be by taking her to the wedding, he also wanted to arrange the wedding car.
“He arrived at our house in a silver Rolls Royce, bedecked with wedding decoration and complete with driver so ” he could sit and have a good chat ” with my wife.
“The most surreal part of my wedding day was sitting in my front room drinking coffee, chatting to one of Warrington’s greats. My wife to be was getting ready upstairs with absolutely no idea Lee was sat downstairs laughing, as she used very un ladylike language whilst putting the wedding dress on.
“Lee made the day even more special for my wife. He gave up hours of his time on a Saturday morning to do this. For me it made the best day of my life even better.”
Alison, aged 50, lost her fight with breast cancer at 4.45am on Monday 8th January, fighting it with courage, dignity and with a smile on her face thanks to the care she received at St Rocco’s Hospice.
Now Mike has embarked on a fundraising campaign in memory of his wife and to say thankyou to the staff and volunteers at St Rocco’s Hospice.
He said: “During the last months she was cared for by St Rocco’s Hospice. Many people are under the impression that St Rocco’s Hospice only care for you during the last days of life. However nothing could be further from the truth. Whilst the “end of life” care is an integral part of what the hospice does the additional support, help and assistance that St Roccos provided to Alison was amazing.”
Alison was first diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2015. After undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the treatments finally finishing in March 2016.
“We thought that she was going to make a full recovery and fully intended that for the next 30 plus years we were going to grow old disgracefully together.
“This was not going to be allowed to happen. In June 2017, only 15 months after finishing treatment, Alison was diagnosed once again with breast cancer.
“However by the time there were any symptoms this evil disease had already progressed to stage 4. The cancer had spread from the breast, into the bone and also into the tissue surrounding her lungs.
“Alison once again started a course of chemotherapy. I cannot put into words how brave she was. She continued to work just so that she could feel as normal as possible. All we were now asking was that we be allowed to have a number of years to enjoy together.”
“This is where St Roccos started to come to the fore. On our first appointment with “in hospice” doctor we sat down. Her first words were to tell us that we had as long as we needed to talk through all Alison’s symptoms, pain and worries. We were there for over 2 hours. She examined, re examined and then examined Alison again. She listened, advised and finally prescribed medications and recommended treatments and complimentary therapies that helped to control both the pain and the symptoms of the tumours.
“However we weren’t going to be given the years we wanted. At the beginning of November we received the horrendous news that the cancer had spread to Alison’s brain. She underwent two weeks intensive radiotherapy along with high doses of steroids to try and reduce the size of the tumours on the brain.
“The main initial side effect of the treatment (alongside the diseases progression) was that Alison lost her mobility. It meant that she was unable to climb or descend the stairs..
“Within three days St Rocco’s had arranged and had fitted a stairlift so that we were able to continue living rather than be restricted to either upstairs or downstairs. You have no idea how important this was.
“They also provided numerous pieces of equipment to enable us to live with as much normality and dignity as possible throughout the worst days of our lives. Not a day went by without a member of St Roccos contacting us to see what they could do to make our lives easier.
“In the words of Alison’s oncologist ” the cancer will not behave”. On the 2nd January Alison’s condition started to deteriorate rapidly and on the 4th she was admitted into St Rocco’s Hospice. From the moment we entered the hospice the care, attention and respect we were given was amazing.
“I use the word ” we ” because it was not just Alison who was treated in this way. Myself, Rebecca our daughter, Alisons parents and family, her friends who visited were all treated in exactly the same way.
“Words cannot describe the gratitude of myself, Rebecca and Alison’s family.for the way that St Roccos looked after and cared for Alison , in particular over the final few days.
“Our final memories of Alison will be of her pain-free, anxiety-free and comfortable and St Rocco’s were fundamental in this.
“They rely on donations to exist and that is why Im asking anybody who reads this to please donate to this wonderful place. To anybody who has already given a donation then thank you so much on behalf of myself, Rebecca and Alison’s family.
Donations can be made by phone by texting WXYZ67 with the amount you wish to donate to 70070 or by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alison112
Lee Briers makes his suprise visit to pick up Alison.