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Cancer patient with months to live plans ‘death party’

Colon cancer patient, 48, insists he’s ‘happiest he’s ever been’ after quitting chemo to make the most of his last days – and plans a ‘death party’ with loved ones dressed as Grim Reaper

  • Russ Pegrum, 48, from Waltham Abbey, is hosting a ‘death party’ this Saturday
  • He suffers from terminal colon cancer and was given months to live by the doctors
  • Friends and family will dress up as the Grim Reaper and Russ will wear a skull T-shirt


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A cancer patient with only a few months to live plans his own Grim Reaper-themed “death party” this weekend, saying he’s “the happiest I’ve ever been.”

Russ Pegrum, 48, from Waltham Abbey, Hertfordshire, will be drinking beer and pizza at his unusual ‘wake’ this Saturday, with family and old school friends for dressing up in grim reaper costumes.

The former factory worker, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018, stopped chemotherapy in September to make the most of his last days.

Doctors say he has only months to live – and Russ, who has a 9cm tumor, isn’t sure if he will reach his next birthday in March.

Russ Pegrum, 48, of Waltham Abbey, Hertfordshire, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018, was told in September there was nothing doctors could do to help him.  He decided to stop chemotherapy and schedule his own wake, which will take place this Saturday

Russ Pegrum, 48, of Waltham Abbey, Hertfordshire, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018, was told in September there was nothing doctors could do to help him. He decided to stop chemotherapy and schedule his own wake, which will take place this Saturday

But Russ said he is “the happiest I’ve been” after hosting his own wake and even choosing a coffin for his funeral.

Russ said, ‘I called it my death party.

“It sounds a bit morbid, but it’s lighthearted and a bit of fun.

“I’m wearing a shirt with skulls on it. A friend bought a grim reaper costume.

While he admitted some people might find his “death party” morbid, Russ said it’s just a way of obscuring his fate.

After being diagnosed three years ago, Russ lost 27 kg during his chemotherapy treatment.  He was in remission in March, but the cancer has since started to spread again

After being diagnosed three years ago, Russ lost 27 kg during his chemotherapy treatment.  He was in remission in March, but the cancer has since started to spread again

After being diagnosed three years ago, Russ lost 27 kg during his chemotherapy treatment. He was in remission in March, but the cancer has since started to spread again

“People are coming from school and people I haven’t seen in thirty years.”

Russ’s cancer went into remission in March, but three months later he returned and resumed chemotherapy.

In September, doctors told him there was nothing more they could do and Russ chose to stop his treatment, leaving him “staring at the walls at home.”

He lost 27kg during his chemo and now needs a wheelchair to travel long distances.

Russ lives with his parents, Brenda, left and Laurence, top right, in the photo.  The cancer patient wants his loved ones to dress as grim reapers for his wake

Russ lives with his parents, Brenda, left and Laurence, top right, in the photo.  The cancer patient wants his loved ones to dress as grim reapers for his wake

Russ lives with his parents, Brenda, left and Laurence, top right, in the photo. The cancer patient wants his loved ones to dress as grim reapers for his wake

Pictured: Playing Russ pool.  The 48-year-old now needs a wheelchair to cover long distances

Pictured: Playing Russ pool.  The 48-year-old now needs a wheelchair to cover long distances

Pictured: Playing Russ pool. The 48-year-old now needs a wheelchair to cover long distances

Pictured: Russ is hosting a Halloween party.  He has said planning his own funeral has given him 'peace of mind'

Pictured: Russ is hosting a Halloween party.  He has said planning his own funeral has given him 'peace of mind'

Pictured: Russ is hosting a Halloween party. He has said planning his own funeral has given him ‘peace of mind’

Russ, who lives with Mom Brenda and Dad Laurence, said: “I decided to stop the chemo and within a month I felt 100 times better.

“Since stopping chemo, I’ve learned to enjoy my life. These were the happiest months of my life.

“Planning a funeral is quite an unusual experience, but it has given me peace of mind.

“I’ve picked out the coffin and the music, and I’ve written my own eulogy. I actually quite liked it.

“When the time comes, everything will be as I wish.”

THE SYMPTOMS OF COLUMN CANCER, WHICH DEVELOPS FROM POLICIES IN THE DOUBLE AND RECTUM

Colon or colorectal cancer affects the colon, which is made up of the colon and rectum.

Such tumors usually develop from precancerous growths called polyps.

Symptoms include:

  • Bleeding from the bottom
  • Blood in the stool
  • A change in bowel habits that lasts for at least three weeks
  • unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme, unexplained fatigue
  • Stomach ache

Most cases have no obvious cause, but people are more at risk if they:

  • Are older than 50
  • Have a family history of the condition
  • Have a personal history of polyps in their intestines
  • Suffers from inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
  • Lead an unhealthy lifestyle

Treatment usually includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

More than nine in ten people with stage one colon cancer survive five years or more after their diagnosis.

This drops significantly if diagnosed at later stages.

According to UK bowel cancer figures, more than 41,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year in the UK.

It affects about 40 per 100,000 adults per year in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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