A DAD who survived testicular cancer is rallying people from West Lancashire to ‘Race for Life at Home’ this summer to help raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
The charity’s annual series of Race for Life 5K, 10K and Pretty Muddy events were cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
But as the nation emerges from lockdown, undeterred women and men are supporting Cancer Research UK by completing a Race for Life at Home challenge on their own in local countryside, neighbourhoods, gardens and behind their front doors!
Ant Bigley, 46, from Southport, is living proof of why research into cancer is so important. In 2008, while working as a police detention officer, he noticed a swelling in his testicle and developed symptoms of overwhelming tiredness. One day the pain got so bad that he was rushed from work to hospital in a squad car and was diagnosed with testicular cancer weeks later.
Ant, said: “I had the perfect life, a good family and an excellent network of friends. But my whole life changed when the doctor said I had cancer.”
Ant was booked in for urgent surgery to remove the testicle at Liverpool’s Broadgreen Hospital, followed by an intensive six-week course of chemotherapy at the city’s Clatterbridge Centre.
He said: “Within weeks, I went from a relatively healthy young man to a shell of my former self.”
Surgery also affected Ant’s mobility and he was reliant on walking aids for a significant amount of time following the operation. He now receives testosterone injections every ten to twelve weeks to maintain his hormone levels. Ant said: “Prior to my diagnosis, martial arts was a huge part of my life. But treatment made this impossible. I was about to take my exam for a black belt when I was diagnosed - another aspect of my life stripped by cancer.”
Thankfully Ant’s treatment was a success and over a decade later he is enjoying life free of the disease. Following his own experiences, he is now calling on people across the North West to help to kick cancer into shape by getting active with a Race for Life at Home challenge to help raise vital funds.
He said: “Cancer Research UK, and the scientific research that they fund, is being hit hard by the current pandemic, and it upsets me to think about what this might mean for people affected by cancer in the years to come.
“I want to do my bit to make sure research can carry on to save more lives and would encourage everyone across the region to support Race for Life at Home and help this life-saving work continue.”
Ant has now returned to practising karate and achieved his long-awaited black belt in the sport last year.
“Cancer will not define me any more and I am determined to turn my story inside out and extract some good from it, by raising awareness and encourage other men to check themselves regularly to help stop cancer taking any more unnecessary lives.”
Thanks to the generosity of people across the North West, Race for Life participants last year raised over £2 million to support research into effective treatments for cancer. People can visit raceforlife.org and sign up free for ideas on how they can create their own Race for Life at Home challenge or call 0300 123 0770.