Britain

Man with terminal cancer begs Britons to respect lockdown so he can hug wife before he dies

A husband with terminal bowel cancer fears the coronavirus outbreak means he'll never hug his wife again – and has begged the British public to respect the lockdown so he might get to live a normal life for a short time before he dies.

Simon Cowls and his wife Ali bought a humble campervan to create some final memories together. This month, they were due to set off from their Devon house on their dream roadtrip through the British countryside.

Instead, Mr Cowls spends each night alone in the van, parked in their backyard, in an effort to shield his vulnerable immune system from the threat of coronavirus.

Image: Simon Cowls sleeps in the pullout tent of his campervan to sheild himself from society

He kisses his wife goodnight via Skype.

The 51-year-old is on antibody treatment that puts him in what the NHS has classified as the highest risk group, forcing him to self-isolate – even from his own wife – for 23 hours a day.

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When he does see her for one hour, he has to sit across a table.

Now he is begging the "pockets of people" still panic buying to stop, and those not obeying the lockdown to stay in their homes, so that all of this might be over sooner.

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"I'm already feeling pretty down in the dumps. I know I'm going to die, and I have the worry of coronavirus on top of it," he told Sky News.

"Now I don't have the person who loves and cares for me around me either. It's hard, it's my wife. I need a cuddle."

Through tears, he continued: "It really annoys me when I see people who think they're invisible, carrying around like their lives are normal," he said.

"You can't do that, you're going to kill people. If you don't get it you'll give it to your grandma or your mum – I don't know what it's going to take for people to listen. If I get this it will kill me, and I have other friends who have it and are fighting for their lives."

The pandemic has amplified the already-immense stress of being terminally ill, stripping away the "big line of support" the NHS provided as surgeries close, resources stretch and supplies run low.

"Suddenly you feel vulnerable, you feel isolated," he said.

Simon has lived with bowel cancer for four years, and it has spread throughout his body
Image: Simon has lived with bowel cancer for four years, and it has spread throughout his body
They recieved one of the government's first 50,000 care boxes, prioritised to society's most vulnerable
Image: They recieved one of the government's first 50,000 care boxes, prioritised to society's most vulnerable

Mr Cowls said his GP recently expressed concern over the phone that people were stockpiling medication in the same way they had done with toilet paper, which posed a risk to the supply of his life-saving medication. "I will die without it," he said.

"Luckily there are lots of community groups who can pick it up for me so I'm yet to put in my first online order, but when I do we will see how long that takes."

He also faced delayed treatment as his doctors weigh up the risk of continued therapy, which would further weaken his immune system amid the coronavirus threat, against the risk of stopping treatment and allowing his tumours to spread quicker.

Ali quit her job as a nurse in the NHS to look afte Simon
Image: Ali quit her job as a nurse in the NHS to look after Simon

This weekend, Mr Cowls received one of the government's first 50,000 food parcels sent to the country's most vulnerable to help them self-isolate for a mandatory period of three months.

It included toilet rolls, shower gel, tinned food, bread, cereal and fresh produce.

Simon and Ali Cowls hope they can one day fulfill their deram of road-tripping throughout the UK Read More – Source