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Dartford Apple store manager, and author of blog Too Upbeat for Cancer, Nicky Boardman, has died after near two-year battle

A cancer patient who battled the disease with fearless humour in an online diary has died.

Nicky Boardman, 34, a store manager leaves behind his wife Kerry Boardman and four-year-old son Ethan.

Since April 2014 Nicky kept the world up to date with his battle against appendix cancer through a blog called Too Upbeat For Cancer, a humorous take on his misfortune.

Nicky Boardman with the drugs he had to take. Picture: Steve Crispe
Nicky Boardman with the drugs he had to take. Picture: Steve Crispe

His fearless and upbeat writing style highlighted the help he had been given by EllenorLions Hospices in the Messenger last May.

On the introductory post to his blog, he said: “I have wonderful friends and colleagues who I’ve tried to keep updated but still the questions come and suggestions that I write a blog.

"I was going to bravely stare down this cruel disease with humour and social networking and a new-found love for Fruit Pastille lollies” - Nicky

"I’ve not wanted to do a blog because in my bleakest hours, at 3am, trembling with fear, I’d come across horrors online.

“But that wasn’t going to be me (we all say that). I was going to bravely stare down this cruel disease with humour and social networking and a newfound love for Fruit Pastille lollies.”

The family lived at The Bridge in Dartford. His wife Kerry, 35, a GP and university lecturer at King’s College London, said: “His death wasn’t entirely unexpected.

“He had been very poorly and in and out of hospital with kidney failure and infections, but you can never fully prepare yourself for when it actually happens.

“It is very hard. Nicky was an amazing man and we miss him. My son misses his daddy.

“He was a laugh – very funny and witty – but at the same time he was incredibly kind.

“He knew people well. One of his party tricks was to get people to say their three favourite books and he would recommend one they should read. He loved to read. His degree was in English literature.

Nicky, Ethan, and Kerry
Nicky, Ethan, and Kerry

“He was a complete geek and loved anything to do with superheroes. He has a massive comic collection and particularly loved Marvel Comics. It has rubbed off on our son a bit too.”

The pair met at a cinema in Rochester back in 1999 where they were working. Nicky was born in Strood and a pupil at Chatham Grammar School for Boys, but moved to The Bridge in Dartford to start family life.

“He had an amazing response to his blog. Tens of thousands of people looked at his website from all over the world” - Kerry

Asked why Nicky decided to share his tragic story with the world, Kerry said: “Some of it was because he got inundated with requests asking him how he was, but he also wanted to raise awareness.

“When he was first unwell people kept telling him that he was too young for cancer and so he wanted to spread the message not to be fobbed off and that people should not ignore their suspicions.

“When he was first tested he looked pretty normal. The hospital thought initially that he had inflammatory bowel disease.

“He had an amazing response to his blog. Tens of thousands of people looked at his website from all over the world.”

His colleagues at the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London have been saddened by his death.

Kerry added: “The tributes and comments we have had from his former colleagues have been amazing.

“People have been saying that he is the best manager they have ever had.

“He would often take people to one side if they were feeling low and motivate them.”

Kerry, Nicky and Ethan
Kerry, Nicky and Ethan

Aside from raising awareness about cancer, Nicky also wanted to highlight the importance of giving blood, as Kerry explained: “One of the things Nicky felt strongly about was giving blood. He was keen for people to take some time to give blood.

“He wouldn’t have survived as long if it wasn’t for blood transfusions.”

Throughout Nicky’s illness, EllenorLions Hospices provided support for the family which Kerry said she was very grateful for.

“EllenorLions have been amazing right from the beginning,” she said. “The hospice isn’t just where people go to die.

“They are great for financial advice, putting you in touch with counsellors and other people who could help with various things, they regularly send me details about various services and do everything they can to help.”

With permission we've included Nicky's first blog entry, which he wrote in April last year.

There are quite a few things you’d rather not hear: ‘We’re going to Slough’ is one. ‘I’ve invited James Corden for dinner’ is another.

Last May, at the tender age of 32, I heard another.

It went something along the lines of “You have a rare and aggressive form of advanced cancer. It’s spread to other major organs.

“We’ll try out a brutal chemotherapy regime that may alleviate your symptoms but you can’t be cured.

"There will be horrible side effects, but I’ll tell you about those next week – I’ve probably p****d on your Hush Puppies enough for one day”.

It’s tough to take in. But when your wife (your wonderful, supportive, caring wife) is a GP, and throughout the hour-long consultation you can see her trembling, clenching the chair, wiping away tears and becoming increasingly pale, you know your outlook is bleak.

But I’m still here. I now have no clue what will happen now following a mind-boggling 10-hour op that saw a 5kg tumour and all or part of half a dozen organs removed and 2 months
of recovery in hospital, but I’m still here...

Nicky Boardman

Visit Nicky’s blog to read more.

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