Like many thousands and possibly millions of others, over the last year or so I have grown to love a man by the name of Steve Evans who has regularly featured on Richard Bacon’s 5 Live afternoon radio show. Steve is an an extremely funny and wise chap and everyone who has ever listened to him can’t help but have grown fond of him. The reason is that Steve Evans has terminal stomach cancer.
I first came across Steve when he rang up a radio phone-in when I was driving back from work. Or rather from seeing my good friend at my former place of work and he immediately made the long journey home that much better.
It is two years ago since he received the diagnosis that he only had a few months to live but since that time, Steve has always tried to look on the bright side of life. He always has a commendably positive outlook on life and can make a joke of anything whilst simultaneously campaigning for more cancer research and better treatments for all.
With the help of his Oncologist who Steve affectionately calls “The Prof”, he has been on a course of special drugs which he wouldn’t have got hold of if not for his tenacious campaigns. If the drugs and the chemo helped, Steve would undoubtedly not be here today without his humour and attitude.
Such was the quality of his first call onto the radio show, that he soon appeared on various BBC television shows nationwide as well in the national press. He also became a regular feature on Richard Bacons radio show and I always looked forward to his appearance for his good humour and wisdom and just to hear how he was doing. Every time he appeared on the show I was pleased as I knew he was ok and I absolutely loved listening to him and his dulcet West-Midlands tones. He often appeared on the Moan-In feature where members of the public would phone up with petty moans about some minor yet really frustrating aspect of daily life. Steve Evans was obviously a natural for this slot, not just because of his humour but the fact that any moan paled into insignificance in comparison to his situation.
Despite his positive humour, from the time to time his shows deal with aspects of life for someone with a terminal illness and as he put it himself “being terminally ill is sh!t”.
He would often talk about his love of fishing and of the Magic Circle as he was an enthusiastic magician. He often talked about his mile-stones and when he achieved one long-held one for attending and speaking at the International Brotherhood of Magicians, he went down a storm.
Shortly afterwards in September it seemed that the end has come as his tumour was getting worse and he had much internal bleeding that was stopping him from eating but the wondrous or as Steve himself put it “Genius of the” NHS managed to patch him up once more so he could continue his treatment and his health improved and he was soon on Breakfast Television campaigning for Cancer Drug treatments for sufferers in the future, probably after he would be no longer here.
I heard Steve on the radio several times, most recently talking about Christmas and the challenges it presented and the happiness that he had reached another goal. He made mention of the importance that his family and children were generally very well behaved so he didn’t have to waste his energy.
Two days ago he appeared on the radio again. It was a very different appearance than most so far. He was in hospital and obviously extremely unwell, possibly nearing what he called his final destination. Despite that he still managed to tell one or two extremely funny one-liners.
Afterwards, it was announced that Steve had declared this to be his last appearance on the radio. It was extremely sad and Steve obviously wanted to appear to say thank-you and continue his role as unofficial inspiration to cancer sufferers across the country and to help those people who as yet don’t know what it is like to either suffer from it or know someone who suffers from it.
He has been such an inspiration to many people and I personally haven’t laughed at anyone so much on the radio over such a long period of time. Despite never having met him, he feels like a good friend and I’m sure the support of his “fans” have been of help. He made us laugh and he made us cry and I’m sure lots of people will be thinking of Steve for the remainder of his journey and will remember him with great affection as I know I always will.
Steve is on Twitter at @steveevans51
You can hear some of his interviews and appearances on the radio are below:
*** 16th January*** Just a small, sad update that Steve died in his sleep last night. Sending thoughts and prayers to his friends and family. Our loss is surely heavens gain, they will be soon having a good old laugh that’s for certain.