The man with the sign is Francie Coyle. The sun is scorching as we walk to the car. It’s a black Mercedes. The doors have a confident slam and the air conditioning kicks in. Quicker than you can say “the troubles” we’re weaving through glorious County Antrim and onwards for an hour to Londonderry.
We chat and laugh about what we both know – Tax and the art of self employment. Francie Coyle sits well in his own skin in his own car. He’s a man in the place he wants to be and he’s doing what needs to be done. Me too. As they say in Belfast “that’s us”. Eventually we talk about the reasons. “See I have a son who passed on” he said “and since he passed on I’ve appreciate as much life as I can.”
His son Paul Coyle was 28 when he visited the doctor with a lump. The doctor dismissed it as a sports injury. In a short while the lump grew so Paul went back with his dad Francie. His dad asked “shouldn’t Paul have a biopsy, at least just a hospital visit”. The doctor had heard this over concern before from parents “No need” he said again more assuredly “it’s a sports injury”. Paul was a good rugby player. I imagine the conversation between he doctor and Paul a bit like this
“You play sport?”
“And I see you’ve a lump”
“Yes a lump. That’s why I came here. I’ve this lump.”
“It’s a sports injury”
A short while after that final visit Francie was morning the death of his son. The “sports injury” was cancer as Francie had suspected. He is calm in telling this story as the warm air swirls over the car. It was a fatal misdiagnosis. Francie continued “But I had questions for the doctor. But the doctor wouldn’t answer”. The caring father was now a threat. He continued “I know my son by his first name. The doctor addressed my son by his first name so I asked him ‘what’s your first name.’ And again he wouldn’t answer. Names are important.
Frankie Coyle set up a campaign to make people aware of Sarcoma called paulscampaign. Finally we enter Derry under a yellowing early evening sun. It’s a beautiful city. The golden Foyle runs through it. We drive onwards to the world famous YOU ARE NOW ENTERING FREE DERRY mural. It is normally black and white. It ahs only changed colour six times. Now it is Yellow to raise awareness of Sarcoma and Pauls Campaign. . Please support the campaign for awareness of Sarcoma. It affects young people. Click like on the facebook page and let’s raise their numbers on twitter beyond one hundred. Please