Living with a terminal illness: Former Harrogate Grammar head to feature on BBC documentary

Kevin McAleese
Kevin McAleese
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Few men are willing to speak about living with prostate cancer but for Kevin McAleese it was a privilege to share his story for a BBC documentary on living with a terminal illness.

Diagnosed in May last year the 70-year-old former Harrogate Grammar School headteacher has since bravely fought on as his cancer has continued to spread throughout his body.

In the face of this, he and his wife Jenny have enjoyed some of the best times of their lives, something he emphasised when interviewed by award-winning documentary maker Sue Bourne for her project, A Time to Live.

Her interviews with people like Mr McAleese has highlighted how people can find happiness with the time they have left.

Mr McAleese said: “I had a diagnosis of less than a year and I want to make the most of that time.

“My wife and I have had some of the best times of our lives, we value each day and realize what matters in life, while enjoying the wonderful surroundings of Harrogate when we go walking.

“She (Mrs Bourne) was interested in me because I am unusual as a man, I am very open and willing to talk about having prostate cancer.
“Her husband did not tell her that he was dying of it himself.

“I think the chance to feature on the documentary is a privilege, to be able to help others in this way and letting them know it can be a joyous occasion.”

Although unable to travel abroad due to insurance constraints , Mr and Mrs McAleese enjoy walks to Fountains Abbey, Swinsty Reservoir and Valley Gardens.

The pair were also recently able to enjoy a trip to Cornwall, the first holiday they have been able to take in a year.

Mr McAleese was one of 12 people selected from across the country and interviewed for the documentary.

Camera crews travelled to Harrogate to film his interview over breakfast at Bettys before continuing at his home in Burn Bridge.

Mr McAleese said: “I am hugely impressed by the range of people that the documentary has included, and pleasantly relieved at how I did.

“I am really proud to have taken part in it and I hope it helps people understand that we are all going to die, but we can make use of that time by making the most of every day.”