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The strength, courage, and determination of Ross Annear

Despite two operations, relentless radiotherapy, countless chemotherapy sessions, exhausting oxygen chamber treatment, speech difficulties, and losing his sight, Ross Annear wasn't one to grumble, as his brother-in-law Lewis Fisher recalls. 
Gent  Co barbers fundraiser SFH

"Ross never moaned; he just used to crack on with it. I remember visiting him after an operation; his head had swollen to one and a half times its size. I asked him how he was feeling, and he said: 'I'm absolutely fine' when clearly he wasn't."

While Ross feared that he couldn't be loved because of his illness, he met Chloe online in 2015, three years after he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour: "We instantly clicked and were inseparable from that moment on". A whirlwind romance led to them moving in together, Ross proposing, and marital bliss all within three years. 

Lewis had the honour of being the groomsman at his sister's wedding and wanted to help Ross deliver his speech because of his condition. Ross was his usual determined self he did it; he nailed it; the guests loved it. Because of Ross's tendency not to complain, Lewis admitted that no one at the wedding bar Chloe fully appreciated the severity of his condition. Chloe was brimming with pride on her big day: "Ross looked so handsome; I knew that I'd lucked out with him."   

Ross's strength of character and desire to not let his illness get in his way was evident in a trip to Sainsbury's with Chloe:

"He had a seizure in an aisle. There I was, trying to catch all six foot two of him but I managed to lay him on the floor. Ross came back around eventually. While everyone was making a fuss and asking if we need an ambulance, Ross gets up and says: 'No, we're carrying on shopping!' and he carried on as if nothing happened."   

Ross stopped eating and drinking in April 2019. He went into Queen's Hospital in Romford, which was the first time that anyone had said to Chloe that he would not be with us for much longer:

"I kind of gathered; the deterioration was so fast. Ross was blind and neurologically challenged. I wasn't going to leave him, so that's when Palliative Care at Queen's suggested Saint Francis Hospice.    

"Ross went into the family room, which was amazing. I could give him cuddles while sleeping next to him instead of in a chair at the hospital. The rest of our family often stayed too. Ross was doted on and loved by all of the nurses."   

Ross was a true perfectionist when it came to self-grooming, as Chloe proudly declared:

"He would not leave the house unless his hair and beard were just right. He genuinely didn't want to look scruffy in front of anyone." When Ross's sight deteriorated, it took him some time to let Chloe trim his well-kept beard his pride and joy.

When Chloe noticed that Ross's hair and beard were getting a little long, her twin brother Lewis asked his barbering friend Dave Langley if he could visit Ross at the Hospice and work his magic:

"Ross's family told me that he didn't have long to live; it was the easiest 'yes' I've ever had to give." This was the first time that Dave had met Ross.

The poignancy of the moment got to the self-confessed "never emotional" Dave, and it's "changed his outlook on life", said Lewis. There was an incredible moment for everyone at Ross's side as Dave was leaving. Unresponsive for days, Ross reached for his pocket to pay him for the haircut but this one was on the house, and the only thing Dave would accept from Ross was a handshake.   

Even though Ross had been unresponsive, Chloe knew it was the right thing to do: "You could tell that he really appreciated getting his hair cut as he was such a proud man. He was the most amazing person so strong and brave. Ross put everyone else first never himself. Even when he had to stop working, all he wanted to do was to get back in the office."   

Ross often told Chloe that she was his angel, and now she wears a charm bracelet that he gave to her, and every charm on it including an angel is from him. 

Ross passed away on 22nd May 2019 at our Hospice with his friends and family around him. He was 29.    

On 26th June, Dave Langley, the owner of GentCo Barbers in Hornchurch kindly donated half of the day's takings to the Hospice.

If you'd like to donate to the Hospice and help people like Ross, please visit his JustGiving page or call us on 01708 753319. 

With thanks to Dave for his generosity in donating over £700, and Ross's family for sharing this marvellous man's story.

Standing proud (colon) Ross's photo at GentCo Barbers

The haircut that meant so much: Ross's photo stands proud at GentCo Barbers