A grandad died a day after his 54th birthday following a missed GP appointment during lockdown.
Andy Steels tested negative for coronavirus on two occasions, despite developing a cough around the same time that the pandemic was taking its grip on the UK.
However, co-owner of AJS Tyres Mr Steels, from East Riding, was actually suffering from stage four lung cancer.
Having had Covid-19 tests in March and April – both of which revealed no trace of the virus – the “workaholic” ploughed on, eventually getting a phone appointment with a doctor on June 15, reports Hull Live.
His wife Jo said: “Andy was a workaholic, he always said he’d die with his boots on.
“Back in March Andy started to feel chesty, he had a cough and was immediately tested for Covid-19, it came back negative. He was tested again in April, negative again.
“Andy had a cough all his life, but this cough was different.
“We tried to get in to see a GP in March but couldn’t and Andy wasn’t getting any better.”
In June, the loving husband, dad and grandad was referred for an emergency chest x-ray and, after numerous tests, he was phoned at work by his GP who revealed his devastating diagnosis.
He had developed stage four lung cancer.
Andy was admitted to Castle Hill Hospital for treatment but was found to be too unwell for chemotherapy. The cancer had spread throughout his body, including into his liver and kidneys.
His funeral was held on August 18.
Jo said: “The medical professionals kept saying that if he’d got here quicker there would’ve been more that they could do to stop the tumour spreading.
“He was too poorly for chemotherapy, the cancer had spread too far, by now it was in his liver and kidneys.
“Andy died within six weeks of his diagnosis.”
Andy is one of an estimated 50,000 people who have missed a cancer diagnosis due to the pandemic, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.
He passed away the day after his 54th birthday, leading his wife to lead a campaign to raise money for the charity.
“Andy and I were always ‘go-to people’; we were fixers. We always had a positive state of mind and I want to keep that going through this fundraising for Macmillan,” she said.
“Cancer hasn’t gone anywhere and families all over the country are losing people too soon because of delays to diagnosis and treatment. We can’t let cancer become the ‘Forgotten C’.”
Jo has organised numerous fundraising events including a Macmillan coffee morning, charity golf day, Christmas raffle and more, to raise vital funds for the charity.
Commenting on the dire situation many families are facing, Julie Hoole, Macmillan’s Strategic Partnership manager for Yorkshire, said: “Because of the pandemic, Macmillan estimate that an additional 50,000 people are missing a cancer diagnosis and others are having their appointments disrupted. It is unbearable to hear stories like that of Jo and Andy, where delays have had an effect on treatment options.
“Cancer doesn’t stop for Covid-19 and neither can our health services. Macmillan is doing whatever it takes to support people with cancer and our exhausted NHS staff, but we need more. Governments need to promise every person with cancer that they won’t be forgotten and ensure cancer services are protected, come what may.”