A FATHER of two has been diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer after showing mild symptoms a month before.

David Strange, from Ringwood, was celebrating his 50th birthday with his wife, Kelly, and his two sons, at the end of July when he started developing a stomach-ache.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: The Strange family

At the beginning of August, he was diagnosed with a bowel perforation after feeling a lump in his abdomen.

Kelly said he was put on antibiotics for six weeks but readmitted to hospital when his condition became drastically worse.

“We went to Basingstoke Hospital, which is a key hospital for bowel cancer, where they did a biopsy on David,” said Kelly.

“The results came back just after our wedding anniversary, and it was stage four bowel cancer.

“We were obviously really shocked because although they had said it was cancer, we were expecting it to be in the beginning stages where we would be able to do something.”

Unfortunately, due to his condition, chemotherapy was not an option for David, and he was moved to palliative care at Salisbury Hospice.

Kelly said being honest with their two sons, Daniel, 12 and Matthew, 10, has helped them cope with the news.

“I think that has really helped the kids process it because they've been able to ask questions and that's how we've handled it,” said Kelly.

“They're struggling obviously because they're going to lose their dad, but they are a lot better because they can just be open and ask the questions that they want to ask.

“We’ll be sitting having dinner and my 10-year-old will just ask ‘is Dad going to die?’ and then we have that conversation that he’s being looked after and managing his pain.”

Following David’s diagnosis, the local community in Ringwood set up a fundraiser to support the family financially.

“It's pretty much been the community and our close friends that have held us together,” said Kelly.

“David said to me he's not scared of dying but what he is worried about is what he's leaving behind.

“He’s not worried about me and the boys emotionally because he knows we’re strong but he’s worried about the financial side and this has really helped him relax a little bit.

“When I tell him about the GoFundMe he’s just like ‘it’s absolutely amazing’ and it’s been a bit of an uplift for him.”

She added: “The finances are really going to help us but I’ve heard that a couple of people have seen the page, had some health worries and have gone and got themselves checked out and it’s about raising the awareness too.”

Over £5,000 has already been raised for the family, and further donations can be made via the GoFundMe titled ‘David Strange: Supporting the Strange Family’.