A brave Sunderland dad has lost his battle with cancer

Cancer sufferer Ray Rhodda, of Regency Drive, Silksworth pictured with wife Shirley (left) and daughter Emma
Cancer sufferer Ray Rhodda, of Regency Drive, Silksworth pictured with wife Shirley (left) and daughter Emma
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A Sunderland dad who recorded messages for his family before his voicebox was removed has lost his battle with cancer.

Ray Rodda, underwent the 13-hour operation to have his voicebox and tongue removed in 2014 after being diagnosed with throat cancer.

Although, Ray was given the all clear for the throat cancer, he started suffering from pains in his back and earlier this year doctors broke the devastating news the disease had spread and there was nothing more they could do.

Heartbroken daughter, Emma, 26, brought forward her wedding to fiance, Andrew Howells, 32, to August this year, but sadly Ray died last week before he could walk her down the aisle and just days before his 63rd birthday.

Emma said: “When dad was told it was terminal he was still quite well, driving around and everything, we never thought he wouldn’t make it to August.

“But, he suddenly went downhill really quickly.

“I had bought him some father-of-the-bride cufflinks and am going to put them in with him for the funeral.”

Ray, a former Sunderland Echo graphic designer, spent the past ten weeks in bed at his Silksworth home being nursed by his wife, Shirley, 53, a special needs teacher at Portland Academy, with help from Macmillan and Marie Curie nurses.

Emma said: “My mam has been amazing, she has nursed him around the clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I don’t think he would have lasted as long without her.

“Dad was so strong and so brave throughout it all. Even towards the end when he was so very weak, he would put his thumb up as a way of saying goodbye when someone was leaving.”

Ray, who was also father to Alison and Martin, was just three months into his retirement from the Echo when he got the throat cancer diagnosis.

Emma said: “It does make you feel quite angry because he had so many plans for his retirement. He was going to start painting and model making again. He and mam also got a labrador puppy which they had always wanted. They planned to go on holidays as well.

“But, he only got to enjoy his retirement for three months.

“When you go through something like this it puts everything into perspective. We all moan and worry about the little things, but really it’s just not worth it.”

Ray’s funeral, which is being organised by Scollen and Wright Funeral Services, will take place on Thursday at 12.30pm at Sunderland Crematorium. His family has requested that donations in lieu of flowers be made to Macmillan Cancer Support.