24 March 2016
Chris Adams (affectionately known as Critter) was 25 when he was diagnosed with a grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma (brain tumour) in January 2015.
He was his footy team’s captain, attended the gym four times a week, loved people and ultimately lost his battle after 11 months on 19 November 2015.
His mother, Cherrie Adams, was in Sydney coming to terms with her father’s asbestosis diagnosis and the prediction of only four months to live.
Two days later, her son told her his news.
After suffering headaches, blurred vision and nausea, Chris visited a doctor followed by a biopsy which confirmed the cancer.
“Our reaction was one of monumental disbelief,” Cherrie says.
“We could not equate this news with the strong, fit, healthy, loving man standing before us.”
As a family, Cherrie with her two sons have committed to Cancer Council’s March Charge encouraging Australians to get fitter and healthier – with a third of all cancers being prevented with a healthy lifestyle – something Chis was very passionate about.
Chris continued to be as ‘normal’ as possible during treatment (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy). He told the family to do the same.
“Don’t change your plans or do anything different. Keep things normal,” he told his mum.
Chris’ father Marty was however offered a mining job in Ballarat the week he was diagnosed. Although Chris wanted things to remain normal, the family had a decision to make.
Chris told his father to take the job because “he deserved it” and it would allow for some financial stability during the ordeal. Marty took the job but made a promise to Chris before leaving saying he would return each and every weekend to help and support him.
“Marty drove back from Ballarat every Friday night - seven hours - and drove back every Sunday after lunch. It was a huge act of selflessness, love and commitment to his boy,” Cherrie said.
Ironically, only a few days before Chris’ passing, Marty told Chris he had resigned to spend more time with his son.
Chris felt like he had a decision to make and he made the decision to play the cards he was dealt and to always be positive.
Although Chris continued to keep active and try to always be positive, he developed depression and wasn’t ashamed to talk about what he was going through, signing up to be an Ambassador for Cancer Council.
“He spoke about wanting to be an Ambassador because he believed he had the skills and the story that may be helpful to others,” Cherrie said.
His motto during all of it was, ‘strong enough to live’ and he lived his life with this in mind.
Chris used Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 service and received support through youth workers, counsellors and information booklets about what was ahead. He was also reminded that he was never in his fight alone. Services which are only available due to the ongoing and generous donations of the community.
The Adams family are committed to fundraising for Cancer Council as well as participating in other activities to “work towards the eradication of this hideous disease,” Cherrie says.
Cherrie has decided to swim 15kms in March for her son.
“I was a little bit of a swimmer as a young woman so have decided to dust off the speedos. I have no idea how I will achieve this but I just have to swim one lap at a time.
“As I focus on that long black lane line, I will remember the way my son, Critter, challenged himself and his cancer.
“Remembering that he was strong enough to live.”
In a speech Chris gave to his football team (Pulteney Old Scholars) before the Grand Final (2015) he encouraged his team mates to live life to the full – “you never know which game will be your last”.
Chris’ brothers Matthew (33) and Russell (28) will be running 100kms.
“Critter would be chuffed that we’re collectively raising funds for a fantastic charity, that we’re all challenging ourselves physically (he loved staying fit) and he would definitely think that he could run further than Russell and me,” Matthew said.
“For me The March charge is a challenge that raises awareness but also gives me something physical to do to try and process Critter's passing,” Russell said.
The March Charge runs for the whole month. Visit www.themarchcharge.com.au.
To support Cherrie, click here.