Before much-loved Welshpool woman Debbie Grundy lost her 10 year battle with cancer, she made her husband promise he would grow his hair and beard out until Movember to raise money for cancer charities.

However, after his grandson Fredie said he looked like Santa, he decided to keep the beard for Christmas and will go back to the clean-shave Debbie liked best on the anniversary of her death; on Tuesday, February 3.

Ian first met Debbie when she moved in next door but one to him. They both had children from previous relationships and, after their eldest sons became best friends, they got together. That was in 1990. Ten years later, they were married, and 10 years after that, Debbie was diagnosed with breast cancer.

County Times:

Ian Grundy with his late wife Debbie

“All the way through she fought everything. She was great. She fought and had seven years enjoying her life,” Ian said.

She had already had operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“We thought it was gone. Finished.”

But Debbie had started to get pains, in her shoulder and in her hip. Initially, doctors thought she might have arthritis. But it was cancer, back again, and almost everywhere.

“It was running rampant around her body.”

At that point, there was no need for operations. It was time for pain relief.

Throughout this whole period, from being initially diagnosed to being told by doctors it’s back, and worse than ever before, Debbie didn’t stop living, and didn’t stop giving either.

Ian said: “She just wanted to keep on doing things, and doing everything for everybody.”

Before Debbie was diagnosed with cancer, she was Ian’s carer. He had an operation on his spine 14 years ago and still struggles with his mobility.

“She was my carer. All the way through having breast cancer she was still caring for me. But then when it came down to it, Debbie decided to get a wheelchair so I could push her around,” Ian said.

Debbie was part of Inspire in Welshpool and Stepping Stones in Newtown. She was always making things to raise money for different cancer charities, and had a strong bond with the women in the groups. She would run stalls at various shows, fairs and events for the charities; and only stopped when she could no longer stand up.

Not wanting her family to worry about anything, she even planned her own funeral, and arranged exactly what was happening and who was going where for the Christmas just gone; and their first without her.

Now Ian, is following in his wife’s footsteps, is raising money for a charity close to her heart: the Lingen Davies Cancer ward in Shrewsbury. It’s somewhere where both Debbie and some of her close friends had many of their cancer treatments. She was extremely grateful to all the staff there that were fantastic throughout her treatment over many years.

At the start of February, on the anniversary of Debbie’s death, Ian’s hair and beard will finally be shaved. However, it’s not going to be the standard head shave. He’s going to let his many grandchildren take helm to his hair first; and they’re planning to dye it in as many colours of the rainbow as possible and plait it too, it’s that long.

Debbie’s friends and family would be grateful for any donations and can’t wait to get Ian back from being Santa and to his normal self.

To donate to Ian’s fundraiser, click here.