RICHMOND Villeran put his stomach pains down to his workouts at the gym.
But after a week of the pains and with his stomach growing, he knew something was wrong.
"I had been doing the workouts for about three months and my lower abs were flat but the upper were getting bigger. I was like, is something wrong?"
Then his urine began getting darker.
Eventually doctors would find a 4cm cancerous tumour in his pancreas. He's been given nine months to live.
Mr Villeran went to his GP in February after he started getting worried about his stomach pains.
A blood test revealed a problem with his liver function. Then the tumour was found. It had spread into his liver and gall bladder.
He had one bout of chemotherapy but then doctors discovered the tumour had grown.
"We were hoping that it would stop or at least lessen the size but it has progressed, that is why they have given me another set of chemo, this time for six months."
His doctor said pancreatic cancer was "very aggressive" and he'd given him up to two years to live. However, that was now about 10 months.
"Sometimes you cannot believe that, you know, somebody tells you you have to sort out your affairs," said Mr Villeran.
But he wasn't letting his diagnosis get him down and has been floored by the generosity of companies in New Zealand and Australia, who have donated flights and theme park entry towards a trip for his family.
The trip was organised by Race4Life Trust, a newly formed not-for-profit organisation that fulfils the wishes of palliative care patients.
After his first diagnosis, he promised his children he would take them to Disneyland when he got better. However, he is now unable to travel such long distances.
Mr Villeran said he and his family, wife Maria - a Middlemore Hospital nurse - and daughters Sian, 11, and Nelle, 5, fly out to the Gold Coast today to visit the theme parks there instead.
He had been studying to be a chartered accountant and got the results that he had passed his exam when he was diagnosed with cancer.
As for what next, Mr Villeran said he wasn't going to let the cancer ruin how he would spend the rest of his time.
"What can you do, it's there already, you just need to be positive. Don't be stressed, just make sure that you build memories with the short time that you have left."
• Virgin Australia and Brisbane-based travel company, Complete Travel Solutions - flights.
• Hick Bros Civil, Auckland - rental car, six nights' accommodation, family entry to five theme parks
• Ocean Royale Apartments, Gold Coast - arranged wheelchair access to theme parks for Mr Villeran.
• Auckland Co-op taxis - transfers to and from Auckland International Airport.
- NZ Herald
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