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Weekly Edition - Published  26 April 2016

 

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LFC fan's aim to 'Walk On' after cancer battle

A patient at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital will make an emotional walk from his home in Crosby to the Royal to mark almost two years since being given the all clear from cancer.

Following a tough battle with the disease, Liverpool fan Gary Jackson now wants to encourage other men and women to visit their doctor if they feel something is not right and thank staff in the Linda McCartney Centre who helped save his life, by raising money for the Royal's R Charity.

In 2013, after feeling severe fatigue, weight loss and general poor health for a while, Gary went for an appointment with his GP.  The 52 year old former depot manager from Crosby said:- "I worked in a pretty full on job in Chester. I didn't feel great, but carried on going in to work regardless and doing my usual routine."

Gary was referred by his GP to see a consultant haematologist where after several weeks of tests he was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Following this devastating news, Gary's life changed dramatically as he underwent treatment at the Royal to treat his lymphoma; a rare form of cancer that affects the lymphatic system in the body.  Gary said:- "I was told to rest and took time off from work. Doctors advised me against going to the match, which was difficult. I have followed the Reds home and away for 40 years. Watching Liverpool all over the world was addictive for me, so that was something I found really tough to just drop, but I had to put my health 1st."

Gary underwent 6 cycles of daily chemotherapy and took part in an innovative clinical trial as part of his programme, followed by 3 weeks of radiotherapy at Clatterbridge. After just over a year of gruelling treatment, cancer specialists at the Royal told Gary his body showed no signs of cancer. Now Gary wants to raise money for cancer services at the Royal with R Charity, as a way of something back to the staff who treated him so well during this difficult period of his life.  He said:- "The treatment I received from everybody at the Royal was first class. Even past my treatment during my follow up appointments, the support I have received from the team at Linda McCartney Centre helped me a lot. I want to thank my consultant, trial nurse and all the staff on 7Y day ward for all their help and support."

With regular visits to the Royal, Gary often found himself rushing to and from the hospital, which was often time consuming and stressful. This commute inspired his fundraising idea.  Gary said:- "I got used to going into hospital after a while, but I always found the actual journey to the Royal a real pain. The traffic from my house and parking on top was annoying at times. I just thought; wouldn't it be great if I could one day make this trip and not have to worry about all that? When I was younger I could run for miles, but during my treatment I'd find even the walk from my car to the hospital could take a lot out of me. The Royal became a big part of my life, so it was the most obvious place to finish. Everyone who has gone through treatment for cancer has their own stories and their own experience of treatment, so this is a really personal challenge for me."

Despite being given the all clear, Gary still visits the hospital for regular check ups, but the journey has changed since he first started treatment in 2013. He said:- "I was never a hospital person before I was diagnosed, but things change; I am more relaxed when I visit now. I feel lucky my cancer was caught and treated when it was.  If I'd have left going to the doctors any longer it could have been a lot worse. It has really changed my outlook on life. I hope my walk can go some way to showing my appreciation to the people who helped me along the way."

Gary will walk the 8 miles from Crosby to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital for R Charity on with his wife Michelle and son Liam, on Monday, 25 April 2016.  You can support Gary's in reaching his £3,000 target via his Just Giving Page.

 

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