8:30am Thursday 12th December 2013
By Claire Maxwell
A boy who lost his father to cancer earlier this year has performed a piano piece for ITV’s This Morning, which will air today.
A Harpenden mother and her young family were filmed for national TV last week, after losing their husband and father to cancer earlier this year, as part of ITV’s Text Santa Appeal to help spread the word about hospice care.
Jo Tester-Wilson lost her husband David, 42, to oesophageal cancer in February of this year and their four children Matthew, 12, Ben, 10, Adam, 7 and Aryial, 4, lost their dad.
This Morning filmed the couple’s eldest son, Matthew, performing live on the piano at The Hospice of St Francis’ annual Light Up a Life ceremony last Sunday, moving a 400-strong audience to tears with a piece called "Life is Hard but there is Always Hope," which Matthew composed himself in memory of his father.
Mrs Tester-Wilson said: "I’m so proud of him. The piece encapsulates how he felt around his dad’s illness and the music, which has a beginning, a middle and an end, was a great outlet for him. It’s the first and only piece he’s ever written and it’s very special. His dad would have loved it."
Mr Tester-Wilson, an electrical draughtsman, had suffered for years with indigestion and been on constant medication. An endoscopy in January 2007 revealed that he had Barrett’s Oesophagus, a pre-cancerous condition, but doctors were not concerned.
In April 2012, however, Mr Tester-Wilson was referred for another endoscopy and was diagnosed with cancer.
Mrs Tester-Wilson said: "They might as well have ripped my heart out, stamped on it and said, right ‘off you go, get on with your life."
Despite what was a relentless illness, the family tried to create important and lasting memories. They had photos taken in the beech forest at Ashridge before his treatment started, in case he lost his hair.
Mrs Tester-Wilson told ITV’s This Morning show, thanks to The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted, which provides care and support to people living with life-limiting illnesses, she was able to nurse him and David was able to die peacefully at home.
The hospice covers Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and 22 percent of the people it cares for come from St Albans and Harpenden.
Mrs Tester-Wilson added: "The way he died was important to both of us and the hospice made David’s last weeks bearable. They supported him as an inpatient and an outpatient and enabled him to die comfortably at home. For that, I’ll always be grateful."
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