A dad has been left devastated after losing his brother to an aggressive form of bowel cancer.
Mark Barnes was diagnosed with rectal cancer after noticing blood when he used the toilet. The 34-year-old was referred to the hospital by his doctor an the tumour was discovered in his bowel.
While undergoing chemotherapy to treat the disease, it spread to his liver and he developed five tumours in a matter of months.
Mark, who is dad to Kyle, 14, moved in with his younger brother Adam, 32, in Shildon, County Durham, when his condition deteriorated.
In February this year, doctors gave him the devastating news that there was nothing more they could do to save his life. He passed away at Darlington Memorial Hospital in Darlington on Thursday (April 27).
Adam, who is dad to Olivia, six, and Amelia, three, said: “He was the best person. He was dead loving and he always went above and beyond for people. He was really caring.
“Everybody knew him, he was a gentle giant. He had hundreds of friends but he kept his best friends very close. Kyle doted on him and, as a brother, he was the best ever.”
Mark grew up in Stockton and worked as a security officer. He visited his doctor in 2021 after becoming concerned about blood in his stool.
He was referred to hospital where he underwent a colonoscopy – a test to check inside your bowels. Medics discovered a tumour and he was told he had cancer of the rectum.
Mark underwent radiotherapy at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough before starting chemotherapy.
It was while he was undergoing chemotherapy, that he was told the cancer had spread to his liver.
Adam, who works as the Head of Installations for Windows Plus Roofs, said: “We were very optimistic at the beginning, as was the doctor, but it was so aggressive. It spread out of control and we couldn’t get control of it. The plan was to get him to a stage where he could have surgery but he never received it.”
Adam said he tried to do everything he could to support his brother when doctors told him that his treatment was no longer working in February this year.
He said: “The doctors said, at the beginning of February, ‘unfortunately it’s too aggressive and too far advanced’. I was there for him as much as I could be.
“I took him to all of his appointments throughout the two years and he moved in with us. I did everything I could to make him comfortable. He was scared but he was always strong.”
Mark was taken into Darlington Memorial Hospital after contracting an infection. Sadly he did not recover and passed away at the hospital last week.
Earlier this week, Adam decided to set up a Go Fund Me page to raise funds for his funeral and the future of Mark’s son Kyle. More than £10,000 has been donated to the fund in just three days.
Adam said: “Most sons would get help off their dad when they are older. I want him to still have that when he’s reached a certain age. I also want to give Mark the best send off possible.
“When he got diagnosed, Mark tried to get life insurance, but unfortunately life insurance providers wouldn’t touch him.
“The amount of messages and support I have received has been amazing. It’s been very overwhelming. It just shows how much he’s loved.”
Mark, who is also missed by his younger brother Ben, 22, will be laid to rest at 10am on Wednesday, May 17.
His funeral service will take place in the chapel Stockton Crematorium in Stockton and he will be buried at Durham Road Cemetery in the town. Anyone who knew Mark is welcome to attend.
Adam has urged others who may have symptoms similar to Mark to visit their doctor as soon as possible. He added: “Don’t leave it too late, get checked immediately.”
According to the NHS, bowel cancer is found anywhere in the large bowel, which includes the colon and rectum. It’s one of the most common types of cancer in the UK.
Symptoms of bowel cancer may include:
- changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you
- needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
- blood in your poo, which may look red or black
- bleeding from your bottom
- often feeling like you need to poo, even if you’ve just been to the toilet
- tummy pain
- losing weight without trying
- feeling very tired for no reason
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