Saturday 4th July 2020

Share Your Snaps #3. 15/51. #LifeThisWeek. A Love Story. 30/2020.

Share Your Snaps #3. 15/51. #LifeThisWeek. A Love Story. 30/2020.

In July 2018 I met the members of the Central Coast Head and Neck Cancer Support Group at the first Soup for the Soul event in Gosford Hospital’s Central Coast Cancer Centre. That day was the first time I met other people who had been diagnosed with a head and neck cancer. I was “still” toothless but was made very welcome. Interesting isn’t it that it took me a year to get out to meet anyone at all in a setting like this. My surgeries and treatments for my head and neck cancer were all in Sydney. I had no idea of what support there was where I was now living until that month, close to World Head and Neck Cancer Day 2018, when I was invited by Lisa Shailer the Nurse who oversees and assists all head and neck (and lung)cancer patients who receive diagnosis and treatments at the centre to attend. I met many of the members, and it was good to share our stories where we could.

The couple I will now introduce, with what I have named  ‘A Love  Story’ are Stuart and Jill.

Stuart shares the story now after some questions for this post. Thank you Stuart and Jill for sharing.

We are Stuart and Jillian (Jill) Garfatth.  We have been  living in the Central Coast town of Toukley for the last 6 1/2 years.

 

How did head and neck cancer affect your lives?

The cancer had a very significant effect on both of us, of course, more so Jill than I.   It has completely changed our outlook on our lives, we realise how incredibly lucky we are to be living in Australia,  particularly the Central coast, because the treatment Jill was able to have has left us in no doubt that it is the best in the Western world, both medically and the people who cared for Jill in her time of need, of course the financial cost was virtually nil, which was a great help in eliminating that particular stressful component of treatment. We both have a vastly different outlook on life, we do things that we normally would not do,  get out and about, travel internationally much more than we normally do, and enjoy every minute of it!

 

 

How long have you both been members of the Central Coast Head and Neck Cancer group?

We have been members of the Central Coast Head and Neck Cancer group since August 2015, and it has benefited both of us a great deal, particularly the knowledge that we are not alone is a major factor of our membership of the group.

 

 

Do you have any particular stories to tell from your involvement there?

We don’t have any particular stories as such, but we always look forward to the meetings, gaining and sharing information about a great range of subject matter pertaining to Jill’s and everybody’s treatment and experiences. Of particular note presentations by people who are at the ‘coalface’ of research and treatments, they just reinforce the value of on-going research regarding advances in cancer treatment, very heartening indeed!

 

 

There is a story about your motorbike, and why it is special, can you share more?

Yes, there’s a bit of a story about my Sterling Autocycle motorbike. In April 2016, my twin brother rang me and suggested I get on the internet and have a look at a rather unique motorcycle, built to order by The Black Douglas Motorcycle Co. in their workshop in Melzo, just south of Milan, Italy. The company is registered in the U.K. but each bike is hand made, taking about 200 hours per bike, and no two are exactly alike, given differences in overall colour and applied finishes, like pinstriping, and other materials used in their construction.
I told my brother that I thought they were rather nice, and certainly ‘different’ to what is being mass produced by the very large manufacturers, but I could not see me buying one as they were a little ‘pricey’, and I didn’t see a need for me to have one. He replied, “Well, I’m buying two, one with a 230cc motor, and the other with a 125cc motor, and you can have the smaller one”.
“WHAT!, you’re paying for both?!,  I was stunned to put it lightly. Well, after getting over the surprise, I contacted the company founder, Fabio Cardoni, and set the wheels in motion to import the first two Sterlings into Australia.

Can you share more please…I know there IS more! 

As my brother is not on the internet, everything fell to me about liaising with all the relevant Authorities, both in Australia and Italy, little did I know what was to come!. Our greatest stroke of luck came about when I contacted the owner of Ballina Motorcycles, Joe Fisher, who has over 44 years experience in the industry,  he proved to be fundamental to the successful outcome, that took 3 years to bear fruit, and have our bikes registered to ride in Australia, his tenacity and unflagging determination, despite some very serious setbacks, was incredible, but for his efforts, our two bikes would never have been imported and registered here, his honesty and dedication to the task was incredible to see, we cannot thank him enough.

There is a down side to the whole saga though.  Our bikes landed  Australia June, 2016, and after a minor delay, we took delivery and put them into Joe Fishers hands, and he started what turned out to be a 2 year process of getting them legal for road use, and boy, what a story that was! Then towards the end of November 2016, the company ceased trading, it was bankrupted by some new owners who thought they could do better than its founder, Fabio Cardoni, so our two Sterlings are now the only two in Australia, and ever will be.

 

 

Please tell more about how the ribbon for Head and Neck Cancer (named for Jill) came about.

The head and neck cancer ribbon I have put on at the front of each side of the petrol tank came about when I soon realised that when the bike was out in public, it attracted a lot of attention,  many many photographs  taken, many questions are asked,  I was even videoed  once whilst riding, so this got me thinking.  I had the ribbon professionally designed and applied, so that whenever an image of the bike was taken, and published, particularly on the internet, the public profile and awareness of head and neck cancer could grow, which it has, as the image has been seen in the U.K., Europe, North America and Canada.

 

 

What else would you both like to add to this love story?

I had Jill’s name applied within the ribbon for two reasons. One, the bike is unique and very pleasing to the eye, and two, so is Jill!

As my bike is the only one on this planet with such unique livery, and Jill is the only Jill also on this planet, I felt it fitting that I should pay my homage to Her by naming my Sterling after her, and ever it will be.

 

Thank you Stuart and Jill for sharing the story of love, as I named it. I know you won’t argue there. I trust that there are many more days to come, sharing the bike, its story and the head and neck cancer ribbon…once we get through the challenges our country is in now thanks to the COVID19 pandemic.

This was a Share Your Snaps with a difference, and I am glad I saved the photos and story till Easter. We all need a lift in spirits I think and with this story I know I was smiling as I compiled it.

To Love…and Stuart and Jill.

 

Denyse.

In writing here,  partly in my role as a Community Ambassador for Beyond Five, the organisation which helps raise awareness of head and neck cancer which is Australia’s 7th highest, I acknowledge Stuart and Jill are also raising awareness with their bike and meeting attendance at the Central Coast Head and Neck Cancer Support Group. Coming up in July, it’s unlikely there will be a Soup for The Soul at the Cancer Centre as in 2018-2019 – sorry Stuart, who enjoys serving the soups with Jill and sampling them too, so it’s vital we continue as individuals and groups to share the knowledge we have about our head and neck cancer stories.

 

 

Life This Week. #184.

Life This Week. Link Up #184.

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Comments

  1. That’s gorgeous. Love the story about the ribbon!

    • Thanks so much. I love it too.

      Denyse.

    • Stu Garfath here. Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, my Jill is unique, a beautiful Lady, she is forever my sweetheart. Despite the initial damage the cancer did to her throat, and the trauma of medication and repair, though her voice can sometimes sound a bit like Patricia Neal’s voice, (showing my age), one magical aspect remained unchanged. My Jill still has the most beautiful, happy and infectious laugh!. Her laugh tinkles with pure enjoyment, her eyes sparkle with pure enjoyment, to what, or who, she’s laughing at, or with, just like her Mother. We met on a blind date way back in 1967. I was to take Jill’s one year older Sister out, for the first time, but she had to go to her 18th birthday party, their Dad was very traditional, and a bit strict. So when I showed up at the Ashfield Masonic Hospital trainee nurses quarters front door, (no way was I allowed to enter!). Jill’s Sister told me that she couldn’t go out with me to the pictures in Liverpool St. Ashfield, because she had to go to the family party for her, way up in Lapstone, but, she had convinced her younger sister to take her place. I immediately felt disappointed, let down, even a bit ‘brushed off, not too happy, I had cleaned my 125CC Suzuki motorbike like it had never been cleaned in it’s life, so I could impress Jjill’s Sister. Then, Jill, came out of the common day room reserved for trainee nurses, her Sister said something like, ‘This is my My Sister Jill, she’s going out with you tonight because I can’t’. Boy oh Boy, was Jill nervous, as she told me just before we were married, 3 April, 1970. Boy oh Boy, every day, every night and whenever I see or hear her, I count myself the luckiest Man on this Planet. I am a Husband blessed.

      • Denyse, I’m SO happy for what you have done, and caused me to do, to tell the world how I met my beautiful Jill, my wonderful, fabulous, Jill. To me, the circumstances of how Jill and I first met I consider a mirror of our world at that time, but, I consider this STILL can happen, and still does!. LOVE conquers all!.

      • This is so lovely Stu….thank you for being so caring and loving in your words to and about Jill.

        Loved reading this news. And big congratulations on your Golden Wedding Anniversary!!

        Denyse.

  2. A fantastic and unique love story. Thanks, Denyse, for sharing this. Best wishes to Stuart and Jill. #lifethisweek

  3. What a lovely story Denyse and a great way to celebrate the share your snaps prompt! Isn’t it funny that I have share my post titles ‘What lifts your spirits’ completely independent of your post? I’ve only just read your full post after linking mine and to see your words and thoughts gave me goosebumps. Great minds and maybe a reflection of the extraordinary times we live in, shown in our writings and sharing. PS. I refuse you as the word unprecedented as you know

    • Thank you kindly.

      Yes, I had planned to write a post about Stuart and Jill sometime in the first quarter of the year and I just scraped in using the Share Your Snaps.

      It’s fine to be off prompt and I do it at times too.

      Looking forward to reading your post.

      Denyse.

  4. What a lovely story – and the perfect way to share your snaps. That bike is an absolute classic too…

    • It is! Stuart tells me a Classic Motorbike Magazine has done a story about the bikes too. Looking forward to seeing more of the story.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Denyse.

  5. What a lovely story and a lovely couple! That bike is spectacular isn’t it and I love the story of how it came to Australia.

    • It is a beauty alright: bike, story AND the love of these two.

      Nice to get permission and the story from Stuart and Jill to share here.

      Thank you.

      Denyse.

  6. Oh that is a lovely story… their increased appreciation for life and everything we have after the diagnosis and treatment and the story of the bike and all of the effort that went into getting it here. I’m sure it makes it more special.

    • It is quite the story alright.

      I was pleased that Stuart took this opportunity to share it along with his ‘why’ of the ribbon for Jill.

      Thank you.

      Denyse.

  7. What an interesting story and what determination! I can’t believe what Stuart went through to be able to have that particular bike – true commitment! I love how he describes the bike and Jill as both being the loves of his life and unique and beautiful. True love indeed.

  8. What a lovely story and unique bike!

  9. It’s so great you could have support like this and meet people going through the same thing 🙂

    • It is and there are small groups like ours all around Australia trying to help each other through the nasties of head and neck cancer.

      Thank you.

      Denyse.

  10. Stuart Garfath says:

    Denyse, what a lovely story you have written, you have nailed every aspect of my submission, far better than I could’ve ever done!.
    Many thanks from me and no doubt Jill when she reads it.

    • Thank you Stuart and Jill, I am glad it resonated and I got to put together the story for you both to share and read. My privilege and pleasure to do this. Denyse.

  11. I love that you own such unique bikes! Thank you for sharing your story, Stuart and Jill!

    SSG xxx

  12. Thank you for sharing this beautiful love/motorcycle story, Denyse. What a beautiful tribute to the power of love!

Denyse values & reads every comment written, thank you. There is always a reply.

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