Nutmeg co-founder Nick Hungerford says he has just “weeks to live” as he battles terminal bone cancer
Nick Hungerford and his wife have set up a charity, Elizabeth's Smile, named after their daughter, which aims to “help millions of children who will lose a parent to terminal illness”.
A co-founder of investment app Nutmeg has revealed he has just weeks to live, after being diagnosed with terminal bone cancer.
In a heartfelt first-person piece, Nick Hungerford (pictured with his daughter and wife) details the trauma he and his family have suffered as he battles the disease but says he wants to use his position to help others cope with the loss of a parent.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Hungerford said: “Today, the week of my 43rd birthday, I know that I have at most only two or three months left to live.
“I am dying from terminal bone cancer. But in a strange way, the knowledge that my life is coming to an end makes me ‘privileged’. It has given me the opportunity to really live, to make the most of every moment.”
Nutmeg was founded in 2011 by former stockbroker Hungerford and William Todd, who left to found money management fintech Hulgrave in 2015.
The founders sold the business to JP Morgan in 2021 for around £700m.
Hungerford said it was not the fear of death which worried him most, but leaving his wife Nancy and daughter Elizabeth without a father.
Describing his daughter, he said: “She is already a true Daddy's girl - we share incredible hugs, she misses me when I'm at the hospital, and greets me with her toy stethoscope, saying how brave I am. The thought of missing her first day of school, of not giving a speech at her wedding, buries me with emotion.”
Hungerford said the diagnosis “came out the blue” four and a half years ago, when he was living in Singapore.
He said he first started experiencing pain in 2019 in his right thigh.
“A fit, athletic man, I thought I'd pulled a muscle,” he said.
He went to the hospital, where he was operated on “to remove some nasty-looking gunk” from his thigh.
He continued: “Four weeks later, I was in such terrible, relentless pain that I ended up in the ER. Poor Nancy heard me screaming under the X-ray machine. A scan revealed a five-inch tumour in my femur and a diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma, a very rare bone cancer, usually affecting children and young people.
“I was in shock. There's no history of bone cancer in my family. I didn't think of death, but of what my treatment might entail and how I'd cope.”
He describes the chemotherapy treatment he has undergone but said he chose not to have his leg amputated.
He also describes the blow that “chemotherapy would destroy his fertility".
Hungerford goes on to detail the ”difficult birth” of his daughter.
He said:” After a difficult birth, she was rushed to intensive care. She'd swallowed meconium and had severe meconium aspiration so they kept her in for 10 days until she could breathe on her own.
“It was all highly traumatic, particularly as Covid meant only one of us was allowed to see her for 20 minutes a day.
“But she was a fighter. I was determined to be there for her, and at that point there was no reason to think the sarcoma would return. So for a few months in 2021, despite lockdown, we had a relatively normal life as proud new parents.”
The family decided to move to the US, where Hungerford would have access to the best oncology doctors.
Since moving to the US, he said: “I have been on almost constant chemotherapy or radiotherapy, which have allowed me an extra 18 months of life. It's like playing "whack-a-mole" - the tumours just keep popping up.
“Currently, I have over 30, some of which have caused fractures, including in my vertebrae. I am mostly in severe pain - shooting agony that make me writhe around. I rely on strong painkillers.”
Hungerford and his wife have now set up a charity called Elizabeth’s Smile which aims to “help millions of children who will lose a parent to terminal illness”.
The charity website said: “Elizabeth’s Smile is a charity that runs like an innovative start-up. Our two focuses as a charity are research and building scalable products.”
Hungerford added: “Elizabeth is too young to have active, internal memories of me, but I have done everything I can to show how much I love her.”