Patty Witkowska


May 2022 welcomed the return of the much loved Wirral Coastal Walk, and we were proud to have over 60 incredible supporters taking on the 12.5 mile trek. Taking on the fantastic challenge was Patty Witkowska, who took part in memory of her father, Darek alongside her family.

Darek sadly passed away in January 2018, but had been treated for cancer since 2003 at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. Whilst life as they know it won’t be the same, the family were looking forward and hoped to make him proud at the event.

“Dad was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2003, but soon after his initial diagnosis further scans revealed changes to his lungs. He had 75% of his liver removed, underwent numerous chemotherapy treatments and had all the side-effects you could possibly think of. Once Dad had had the operation and chemotherapy we received the news all cancer patients and families want to hear; he was in remission.

Fast-forward 8 years and he was given the devastating news that he now had testicular cancer. We have all lived in the shadow of cancer and yet again it took centre stage. Dad underwent radiotherapy, as well as an operation and thankfully was given the all clear. For three years, Dad was in remission from testicular cancer, but in 2016 at one of his regular check-ups at the opticians a black spot at the back of Dad’s eye was found and he was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma.

Dad’s Ocular Melonoma metastasizes soon spread to the liver and Dad then received the news that the cancer was terminal and could not be operated on. He was treated with Immunotherapy at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre: Liverpool, which is one of their specialties. The help, support and care that we received as a whole family is truly what got us through until the very end; we knew that all the amazing staff at Clatterbridge were there for us.

On 29th January 2018, our world was shattered into millions of pieces as we sadly lost our hero, Darek. Four years on, our lives have not been the same without him. We miss him so very much, but a lot has happened in this time. Dad has become a grandad to two beautiful grandchildren; a little girl called Loa and a little boy called Noah. They may never get to meet their brave and gentle Grandad, but they will always know what a true hero he was and still is to all of his family and friends. The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre gave him such precious time together, and created some wonderful memories which we will continue to share with our little ones.

Clatterbridge not only provided outstanding care to Dad, but they also supported us as a family throughout many difficult parts of his cancer journey and we don’t know what we would have done without them. We have kept in touch with so many of the wonderful nurses and doctors who gave Dad just that little bit more time with us, which we will be forever grateful for.

As a family, we took on the Wirral Coastal Walk for Clatterbridge Cancer Charity in memory of our hero; our much loved Dad, Husband and Grandad Darek as we continue to support this fantastic charity. We are going to continue to fundraise in any way we can to make him proud, and continue to recognise the incredible work that all of the Clatterbridge staff are doing every day.”

If you would like to get involved in one of our challenge events, or take on this year's Lead The Way: Snowdon visit to find out more.