Video: Cancer Research UK's Race for Life is at Stormont on May 26
Cancer Research UK's Race for Life takes place at Stormont next month and among the runners will be Gary Crossan who is marking one year since the end of his treatment for bowel cancer.
Mr Crossan (36) will complete the 5k route on Sunday May 26 and will be joined by his wife Julie (36) and daughters Rowen, four, and two-year-old Reesa who was only a few months old when he became ill in 2017.
The Banbridge man said it had been "a long journey through illness, treatment and recovery" and he was "thrilled to be in good enough health to take part in this important event which raises funds for life-saving research".
Mr Crossan, who is a self-employed photographer, said his symptoms included severe abdominal pain with irregular bowel movements and substantial weight loss. His GP carried out blood tests and he was referred for a colonoscopy.
"The pain became so severe I attended the emergency department in Craigavon Area Hospital in July that year and was admitted for suspected diverticular disease following a CT scan," he said.
“It wasn’t until Halloween that a camera test showed a white mass in my bowel. My consultant said it was a substantial tumour, the size of a tennis ball, and wanted to operate as soon as possible. Although I had been unwell I was still pretty shocked, though very glad they could take action.
“I underwent surgery the following morning to remove the tumour and my large bowel and I was given a colostomy bag.”
As the cancer had spread slightly to his glands Mr Crossan underwent eight cycles of hemotherapy at the Mandeville Unit in Craigavon.
“I received excellent care from the consultant, staff following surgery and at the Mandeville Unit who looked after all the family during the months of treatment. I continued working as best as I could during that time. I didn’t want to let clients down and it helped me to keep busy so as not to dwell too much on what was happening".
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events. This year's Pretty Muddy runs are in Ormeau Park in Belfast on Saturday September 7.
One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime and Cancer Research UK funds research to fight 200 types of cancer.
To enter the Race for Life 5k or 10k, which are both being held on Sunday May 26, visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.
Gary’s Cancer Research UK fundraising page is https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/garys-race-for-life-3930