Blind organist and family battles cancer

Well-known blind organist Richard Hore has had many challenges in his life.But he is facing his biggest one yet after his 18-year-old daughter Megan was diagnosed with bone cancer.

Mr Hore has been a staple of the Christchurch music scene since 1973 and is now busking outside Bush Inn Countdown every weekend to raise money to make Megan’s dream come true and take her to Disneyland Paris.

“It’s amazing to be able to make people happy with my playing and it’s a really positive thing for Meg,” Mr Hore said.

He said sometimes when he sings, he wants to cry thinking about his daughter.

“It is a wonderful, emotional outlet for me.”

Megan was diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago.

“Basically one day in late August, Meg woke up with what she thought was a cramp,” Mrs Hore said.

A few weeks later she noticed her daughter was still limping.

“You’re a dancer, you rock-climb, you run, you’re young and super fit: ‘You shouldn’t be limping,’ I said to her. Then I realised something didn’t seem quite right.”

After a visit to the GP and an X-ray, the family thought all was well – they’d booked tickets to see Victoria and Abdul.

“We were just leaving home when the phone rang. The GP said: ‘You have to come and see me now’,” Mrs Hore said.

“We went right away and the doctor said: ‘There’s no easy way to say this, but you have osteosarcoma’.”

Megan immediately started chemotherapy to treat the bone cancer, Mrs Hore said.

“We were positive at that stage. We caught it early and we thought chemo would work.”

But after testing they were told the chemotherapy wasn’t working, Megan has a 50 per cent survival rate.

“There was supposed to be 10 per cent cancer cells, but they found 50 per cent. We were absolutely gutted,” Mrs Hore said.

“We’re not ready to be a three-cog unit, we’re better with four cogs.”

It’s not the first time the Hore family has dealt with cancer.

“When they were young, the girls both had retinablastoma, which is what Richard has. But we dealt with that, we went through the chemo and we thought we got through that, we’ve done our dash,” Mrs Hore said.

“It’s really knocked our socks off.”

Megan has since had four more rounds of chemo. Once the latest round is finished, she will go back for testing.

Mrs Hore said if cancer was found, Megan would be diagnosed terminal.

“We all have it in the back of our mind, but we don’t let it overcome us.”

Instead, they’re focused on ticking off Megan’s bucket list – a trip to every Disneyland around the world.

She went to the California theme park when she was 11, leaving Paris, Florida, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Hawaii to go.

Also on Megan’s bucket list is going to university.

“There’s no point in wrapping her up. We tell her you have to
go to uni, do what you were going to do because we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Mrs Hore said.

She said Megan has been struggling having to talk about her mortality so much at such a young age.

“To be told you have cancer is quite mind-blowing, it’s really hard when you’re 18, so this trip is quite important. While she’s been doing all the drugs, lying in bed and having chemo, she thinks about what she’s missed.”

But the family has become stronger. Megan and her sister Amy, 24, are “joined at the hip.”

“It’s been a horrible year for us all, but we’ve become stronger as a unit and we’ve got lots of memories,” Mrs Hore said.

FAST FACTS

•A Givealittle page to help raise money for the Paris trip was set up by Canterbury University student Jamie Rutledge. “I thought it’d cool to raise money through the internet. I wasn’t expecting more than $500,” he said. But after posting it on the University of Canterbury Student Association Facebook page that total skyrocketed to more than $7000.

•To help the Hore family get to Disneyland Paris, go to givealittle.co.nz/cause/megs-dream or Bush Inn Countdown on the weekend.

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