A 37-year-old father of four has been devastated after learning his severe heartburn was in fact terminal cancer.
Paul Walker, from Lisburn, County Antrim, was told by medics this week he has stomach cancer and has between five months and a year left to live.
His friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the Manchester United fan so he can make one final visit to Old Trafford. So far, more than £5,600 has been raised.
Prior to his diagnosis, Mr Walker had been suffering heartburn which got progressively worse. After several days, fearing he was suffering a heart attack, wife Laura called an ambulance and he was rushed to hospital.
Paul Walker from Lisburn, Co Antrim has been told by medics that he may only have five months left to live
Mr Walker, pictured with his wife Laura, had thought he was suffering from heartburn, but hospital tests showed he had advanced stomach cancer
Mr Walker, pictured with his youngest child, Xena, said he cannot understand how he contracted fatal cancer in the weeks before the
Initially, Mr Walker was told that he had gall stones and was suffering type two diabetes. A later CT scan confirmed he had cancer of the stomach.
He told Belfast Live: ‘I just keep asking myself why this has happened. There must be a reason, because I am only 37 and can’t understand how this has come all of a sudden.
‘A few weeks ago I had gone to the out of hours GP with heartburn and after coming home and taking some Gaviscon, the pain kept getting worse. My wife Laura ended up having to phone me an ambulance because I was sure that I was having a heart attack.’
He said he has to go into hospital on Monday for a biopsy which will determine his treatment, however doctors have already warned him that the cancer had progressed to far to be cured.
Any treatment will only prolong his life.
He is still trying to work out how to tell his children, Travis, 14, Summer, nine, Kai, seven and Xena, one, what is happening to him.
Mr Walker, pictured, admitted it is really difficult trying to tell his children about the extenst of his illness
He added: ‘It is still difficult to talk to the children about it. I have explained to my oldest that I am sick and the doctors are doing tests, but I haven’t told him the full craic yet. My amazing wife has been so supportive throughout this and my goal is to spend as much time as possible enjoying life with my family and friends in the coming months and trying to make the most of things while I can.’
The GoFundMe was started by George Keenan, who has known Mr Walker since they were aged 11.
Writing his emotional appeal, Mr Keenan said: ‘On Monday morning I took my best friend from school to a hospital appointment at the Royal for him to find out his scan results of his stomach, he got the devastating news that he has only 5 months to live meaning it would potentially make it Christmas time for his passing.
‘Putting salt to the wound is the fact that he’s only 37 and just a few weeks ago celebrated his youngest daughters 1st birthday.
‘Today after visiting him I was asked by his wife if I could let him and his son come to my house and watch a Manchester United game on my 85 inch tv as he’s always wanted to see them live and this would be the closest thing to it.
‘This has caused me to look into wish granting charities like the Purple Heart foundation, but we simply don’t have time on our side to wait so I’ve decided to set up a GoFundMe for him to live out a few of his last wishes and leave his wife with some funds for when he’s gone as adjusting to life with four children by herself will be a monstrous mental and physical task.’
Initially Mr Keenan had hoped to raise £1,000, but more than 300 people have so far donated £5,600.