When Martha Halstead was diagnosed with cancer, her husband stepped up to take care of her.
New to the caregiver role, Robert surprised her and everyone else in the family, doing what needed to be done without help from anyone else.
For this, “with a grateful heart,” his wife nominated him for Outstanding Supporter, an award given to a family member, friend or other person who has gone above and beyond to support a cancer survivor during their journey. Robert was announced as the winner during Waterford Place’s National Cancer Survivors Day celebration in June.
“My husband was amazing during the whole process,” Martha says. “He was there for me the whole time. Robert is not used to having to take care of anyone physically.”
A BRACA1 survivor, Martha was in and out of the hospital several times during her treatment. She lost her grandmother, three aunts, mother, three sisters and a nephew to the disease.
“When I was diagnosed he supported whatever decision I made to take care of myself,” she says.
The homemaker since she retired in 2012, Martha says her husband grew up during a time when his mom did all the household chores. So, it surprised their whole family when he took over all the household duties during Martha’s treatment.
In nominating her husband for the award, Martha wrote, “He cooked for me — which he's not that good at — cleaned and helped me with whatever I needed. He is newly retired and is not used to having to do these things.”
Although Robert says he does not feel that what he did was heroic in any way, his wife says his support went beyond cooking and cleaning.
“He held me when I cried, told me I was still beautiful to him and let me get mad when I needed to,” she says.
Perhaps the biggest thing to her was that he got up in the middle of the night to help her to the bathroom.
“I so appreciated that,” she says. “He was there when I needed him.”