Tough year ends on a high

Wayne and Linda Kahl get to know Wayne's Christmas gift from Linda - a Jack Russell puppy.
Wayne and Linda Kahl get to know Wayne's Christmas gift from Linda - a Jack Russell puppy.

CHRISTMAS is a time for giving and good times with family.

After a rough last 12 months, Hynam man Wayne Kahl's festive season was brightened when he received a wonderful gift from wife Linda - a Jack Russell puppy.

On December 20, 2013 Wayne was diagnosed with a massive throat cancer, which was conformed early this year.

On January 2013 he had a complete larynjectomy, with a chunk of his thigh cut out to make a new oesophagus.

"We never let it get us down," Linda said. "Everything was as positive as it could be."

Wayne spent weeks in hospital and underwent radiation therapy, with numerous trips back and forth from Adelaide over the year.

Linda went up and back with him, staying at Flinders Lodge near the Royal Adelaide Hospital where Wayne was being treated.

She could not thank the staff at the lodge enough for all the love and care they showed to the Kahls and everyone else who stayed there.

"You make friends for life there," she said. "Everyone makes the best of a bad situation."

Unable to talk, Wayne was looking at getting a prosthetic voicebox but following complications with the surgery this was put off until it's safer.

After this, Linda decided to do something to help life Wayne's spirits, and a new dog was seen as the perfect tonic.

"I just think animals help healing," Linda said, unable to keep the surprise from Wayne for long. "He's just thrilled to pieces."

The Jack Russell puppy came from Lucindale's Bob and Valmai Cooper and was given to Wayne on December 10 - coincidentally Wayne and Linda's 31st wedding anniversary - and it was instantly clear just how much it meant to him.

"With Wayne's condition he's got a long road ahead of him," Linda said. "But he's a real trooper, as all cancer patients are."

Linda said the dog, which had not been named yet because Wayne felt he needed to work out the dog's personality before naming - will help her husband on that road.

Linda thanked the Coopers for the pup, which has brightened the Kahl family's Christmas immensely.

"Thanks to all our friends and family for all their support," she said. "We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."