Thursday 27 July 2017

‘Thinking about the kids kept us going’ – Dad who couldn’t see toddler sons due to life-saving treatment set to come home for Christmas

Richard with his wife Valerie and three sons
Richard with his wife Valerie and three sons
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A dad who couldn’t see his three toddler sons for months due to life-saving cancer treatment is hoping to go home for Christmas as he’s “doing really well”.

Richard Chute (26) from Cork was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia earlier this year when he began complaining with swollen lymphs and was admitted to Cork University Hospital.

The three boys are at home in Cork
The three boys are at home in Cork

The navy officer was diagnosed in May and has only been able to see his twin sons Joshua and Elijah (2) and Luke (1), a couple of times due to the risk of infection.

"He went into hospital one day and he never came home," his wife Valerie (27) told Independent.ie.

Valerie hopes there will be some Christmas magic and Richard will be able to spend Christmas at home with his family.

“We didn’t know what Christmas would be like this year because we just have to wait and see. We are hoping Richard will come home to Cork for a few days at Christmas and then go back into hospital for more treatment. He’s doing really well, so Christmas at home looks like a possibility,” Valerie said.

Richard is undergoing cancer treatment
Richard is undergoing cancer treatment

“He’s a bit apprehensive because he feels so fragile but he’s so excited to be home with his boys. He missed them tremendously.”

In November, Richard underwent a bone marrow transplant in Dublin and has been doing “really well” ever since.

Valerie made the heartbreaking decision to leave her three young sons in the care of her family in Cork so she could be with Richard during his treatment.

"Our consultant said ‘give us one year of your life and we’ll give you the rest of your life to be with your babies’. Hopefully the boys will have their dad the rest of their lives."

The hardest part for Richard as he battles cancer is not being able to see his sons
The hardest part for Richard as he battles cancer is not being able to see his sons

Valerie said they soon became homesick as they were so far away from their friends and family in Cork.

“When Richard was admitted it was a strange feeling being here, because we felt a million miles away from our home in Cork.

“It's easy to take for granted being able to call someone for a coffee and chat or to meet for a quick lunch. We both started to miss our friends and family a lot.”

Valerie described Richard’s bone marrow transport as “anti-climatic” but after a few days, Richard began to deteriorate.

“A few days after things started to get bad for Richard but we were prepared for the worst.

“Some days felt endless as he couldn't get comfortable and the only thing I could do was sit by the bed doing nothing but praying.”

Richard gradually began to improve and was discharged from hospital to a nearby Dublin apartment.

“He's doing ok and they want him to keep doing what he's doing and, all going well, we could get home for a weekend to see our little men before Christmas.

“Thinking about the kids kept us going. We were so thankful that my family is looking after them because it makes it easier for us knowing that they are loved.

“To be honest we felt more sorry for all of them who were minding them and their mental sanity,” Valerie joked.

“If it wasn't for Richard’s mind being able to focus on getting home to those three, I think it could have been a lot different.”

Valerie said that Richard continued to stay optimistic, despite his intense treatment.

“God gave him the strength to carry this cross and in the same time looked after our kids. Richard kept praying to God to be a father to my kids.”

Valerie thanked everyone who has helped her family raise vital funds for Richard’s treatment.

“The help we have gotten from everybody has made this journey so much easier. Honestly we are so grateful. The support we have had was incredible.

“We know that this journey is still ongoing and will be for a while but Richard can honestly say the help and support that he has received from everybody gives him the strength to go on.”

You can donate to Richard’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/2h5w43w

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