Harry de Winter became a big name in the media world through his production company IDTV, with which he made pop programs, games such as Lingo and Triviant and drama series such as Oud Geld and Pleidooi. Harry became even more famous when he started presenting Wintertime, in which he had celebrities tell their life stories, framed by their favorite music. Harry made 185 broadcasts, the last of which—last April—was arguably one of the most gripping. He then took center stage, interviewed by Jeroen Pauw. Harry candidly told that he suffers from lung cancer, better known as asbestos cancer. And that no doctor can predict how long he has left to live.
Harry received the doomsday message in 2020. At the beginning of that year, just before corona broke out, he flew to New Zealand with his partner Yvonne van den Hurk to celebrate a holiday there. Immediately upon arrival, Harry became very short of breath and ended up in the hospital. He turned out to have fluid in his lungs and he was advised to undergo further examination in the Netherlands. ‘We flew home straight away,’ Harry now tells Libelle. ‘I was totally depressed. Shit, I thought, I have cancer.’ Doctors at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam were finally able to reassure Harry: he did not have cancer. Relieved, he went on holiday with Yvonne, to Bonaire. Because he continued to have complaints, it was decided on return for keyhole surgery. Harry didn’t worry, it wasn’t cancer after all. But this time he got bad news. ‘Cancer anyway. Asbestos cancer. And that cannot be cured.’ Harry was referred to the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital. There he underwent all kinds of treatments, including immunotherapy. He currently appears to be benefiting from chemotherapy. Harry tries to make the best of it.
Although Harry says he doesn’t have a bucket list. “I’ve always done what I wanted to do and had a great life.” If he can turn 77, he thinks he has done well. ‘We now live from scan to scan, from deadline to deadline, but we are not trembling here.’ Should he soon be told that he has finished treatment, he will ‘just’ start a new phase. “If I’m going to feel really shitty, I’m not going to lie in a hospital bed until the end comes. Then I’ll take matters into my own hands.’ But he doesn’t want to deal with that. ‘I still want to live!’
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