‘Larger than life’ flight attendant Ross Saxton-Davies, from Essex, was 27 when he was struck down by stage four melanoma in January 2017
A ‘larger than life’ flight attendant died from an aggressive skin cancer that doctors assured him was a ‘harmless mole’.
Ross Saxton-Davies, from Essex, was a fit and healthy 27-year-old when he was killed by stage four melanoma in January 2017.
He had a mole removed from his back in 2015, but was told it was not cancerous and that he had nothing to worry about.
Over the next year, the killer disease was allowed to spread to his stomach and liver, where it became incurable.
Speaking publicly about her son’s death for the first time, his mother Tracy said: ‘He was a big character, he was larger than life, so many people loved him.
‘Over 300 people came to his funeral and we had an open mic so people could talk about what Ross meant to them.
‘He had so much confidence and he encouraged other people to be themselves. He was just happy all the time and he had lots of friends.
‘He was quite flamboyant, he would walk down the street in high heeled boots and not care.’
Her son first noticed a mole on his back in 2015 and went straight to his GP because his father had also suffered from skin cancer.
His doctor referred him to Colchester Hospital, Essex, where a biopsy revealed the mole was cancerous and it was removed.
But when the air steward went to Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, for a follow-up appointment he was told the tests were wrong and it was a harmless skin lesion.
He had complained to doctors about a strange mole that appeared on his back in 2015, but was told it was nothing to worry about. Pictured with his mother Tracy during his final days
His mother said: ‘The hospital told him to keep checking it but at the time they didn’t think it needed further investigation.
‘He was seeing them every three months but he started to feel unwell. He had pain in his arms, groin pain and a couple of pains throughout his body.’
On November 20, 2016, Mr Saxton-Davies complained of a pain in his body and back and that he was feeling tired.
But his family thought it was because he was working long hours.
Ms Saxton-Davies added: ‘His fiancée got home and found him collapsed and took him straight to A&E.
‘Ross rang me and asked me to come down because they wouldn’t release his results and I knew something was wrong. Ross was so scared.’
The family were given the news that Mr Saxton-Davies had stage four melanoma, the most deadly kind, which had spread to his stomach and liver.
Mr Saxton-Davies moved back in with his mother when they were told he had just five weeks to live.
But the flight attendant battled through until January 25, 2017, when he was rushed to hospital after gasping for breath. He died that night.
His mother said: ‘He deteriorated really rapidly, his body hadn’t the strength to fight it and he was gone. It was a massive shock.
‘He had been doing his shifts at the hotel but he didn’t feel quite right. People don’t realise how rapidly things can go downhill.’
The family later found out via medical records that medics has been told to treat the mole with ‘extreme caution’.
Over the next year, the killer disease was allowed to spread to his stomach and liver, where it became incurable
But Mr Saxton-Davies’ mother said she ‘doesn’t blame anyone’. She added: ‘I don’t think it would have changed the outcome, it was really aggressive.’
From 18, Mr Saxton-Davies lived in Spain, Hertfordshire and Newcastle, as he worked in the cabin crew for Ryanair.
The family have raised more than £9,000 for Melanoma UK and for a mole mapping machine at Colchester Hospital, which helps to detect skin cancer early.
His mother has set up a Facebook page called ‘Ending Life’s Taboo’ to try and get people to talk about early death and terminal cancer.
She also wants to be able to provide counselling to people on end-of-life care, completely free and as soon as they need it.
Ms Saxton-Davies said: ‘Ross wanted counselling and he was put on a waiting list to be assessed but unfortunately he died before he got any.
‘It was really difficult for him to talk to anyone. People don’t want to talk about death and dying. After Ross died, I felt like I had to do something.
‘I want to open the conversation about death and grief and I want people who are coming to the end of their life to be fully supported- they still matter.
‘I think hospital staff need to be honest and open about death because that way it allows the person and their family to deal with it.
‘I have had experience of death with close relatives and I think it’s just made me feel like things should be different. You should be able to talk about your grief.
‘I do think about him always and that will never go away. We all just miss him so much.’