An email from Mike Smith (Class of 1971) has been passed to me via Ross Eastgate and Ian Callan – many thanks to all three. It passes on some sad news about the health – and outlook – for Stew Snell. I remember Stew – a founding member of the Little Ford Club – as one of the most innately nice people I met at RMC. Let’s keep Stew and his family in our thoughts at this time.
Most of the text of the email from Mike is as follows:
“Over the years Marg and I have kept in touch with Stew and Kathy Snell. We had dinner with Stew earlier this year on one of his visits to Canberra. He was in great form, very fit and still working his successful company, Atamo. Stew and Kathy had decided to sell their acreage to the north of Perth and move to Secret Harbour to the south of Perth – closer to some of their three children and a more manageable property.
Yesterday, Stew advised me that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and that it was inoperable. He has given me approval to advise Old Mates, but I don’t have current addresses for many in the classes of 71 and 72 who would probably like to know. Grateful if you could forward through your network. I have cc’d the Canberra Old Mates coterie and a few of the Gallipoli Company crew.
Stew’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and his mobile is 0414 628 941. I also have Kathy’s contact details and Marg and I will check with her over the coming weeks.
Below are extracts from Stew’s recent emails. He is brave and stoic, and a true inspiration. His last sentence (highlighted) is a mark of the man.
“There has been a big change in our affairs since we met up earlier this year.
In early August I visited the doctor with an uncomfortable feeling in the upper abdomen. Several visits to hospital and a range of tests later I have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that appears to have spread to the liver, making it inoperable. We had already planned to move from our acreage into something more manageable for people getting older. I got the diagnosis in the week we were to move. We managed the move with various dramas in matching settlement dates etc.
We moved into 62 Secret Harbour Boulevard, Secret Harbour on Tuesday 24th, I saw the oncologist on Wednesday and had a liver biopsy on Thursday. I start Chemo next Wednesday. The general prognosis is 6-12 months and I have asked to oncologist to help me be as functional as possible for as long as possible. There is an outside chance we may be able to stretch it out to a couple of years.”
And: “Thanks for the kind words. It is a difficult situation but I’m determined not to waste any time thinking about what might have been. The doctors spent some time looking for an underlying cause but weren’t able to find one. So we just accept that there is no reason and we are simply grateful for what we have.
I’m happy for you to pass the news on to RMC colleagues. I know several of them have health issues and I would be pleased if you would also pass on my best wishes to those who are dealing with problems of their own.”