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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Rosaleen Fenton

Terminally-ill man celebrates his life at 'death party' surrounded by loved ones

What comes after death has been a question no one can conclusively answer - but before then, we have the blessing of being able to plan ahead.

One terminally-ill cancer patient took the time to celebrate his 'death party' after learning he has just months to live.

Russ Pegrum celebrated until the early hours with his loved ones, including old school pals that he hadn't seen for decades.

The 48-year-old was showered with hugs and kisses as the 120 fancy-dressed 'mourners' danced the night away.

Russ joked that that cancer could "kiss my arse", as he was surrounded by mates while enjoying beers and pizza.

Russ Pegrum, 48, partied until the early hours with 120 friends and family (Michael Bird / SWNS)

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He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2018 but stopped his chemotherapy in September to make the most of his final days.

Doctors warned him he may not reach his next birthday in March - prompting Russ to make light of his situation by throwing his own wake - or 'death party' - on Saturday.

The crowd partied until the early hours (Michael Bird / SWNS)

Russ, from Waltham Abbey, Essex, said: "It was a great night, I'm so glad we did it. I told everyone that they were there because I loved them and they'd given me a memory for the rest of my life.

"I had a lot of drunk people coming up to me to give me a hug and a kiss. The party was supposed to end at midnight but it went on until 1.30am.

"I did a lot of sleeping the next day, I was quite tired!"

The 48-year-old celebrated his 'death party' (Russ Pegrum / SWNS)

In an invitation for Russ' 'death party,' he wrote that cancer could "kiss his arse". The invite read: "There once was a man called Russ.

"He didn't like making a fuss. Cancer would take him. But never could break him.

"Cos cancer could kiss his arse."

Russ' party featured a raffle that helped to raise almost £1,200 for local charities Edie's Kindness Project and Through The Fight Foundation.

The former factory worker relies on a wheelchair to travel long distances but is still managing to tick off his bucket list.

On Thursday, he's doing a 'sky walk' tour of his boyhood football club Tottenham Hotspurs' stadium with his family.

Russ has even planned his own funeral (Michael Bird / SWNS)

Russ has even planned his own funeral so that "when the time comes everything will be how I'd like it to be".

His cancer went into remission in March but it returned three months later and he restarted chemotherapy.

By September, doctors told him there was nothing more to be done and Russ opted to quit his treatment, which had left him "staring at the walls at home".

More than a hundred attendees gathered together (Michael Bird / SWNS)

Russ said previously: "Since quitting chemo I've learnt to enjoy my life. These have been among the happiest months of my life.

"Planning a funeral is a fairly unusual experience but it's given me peace of mind.

"I've picked out the coffin and music, and written my own eulogy. I found it quite enjoyable really."

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