A brave Arbroath man who has survived cancer three times is to run a half marathon to raise awareness of the illness in young people.
Steven Barnes (38) plans to run the Edinburgh Half Marathon on May 31 to raise money for Cancer Research UK and to highlight, through his own inspirational story, that a cancer diagnosis is not the end.
He explained: “The first was when I was 30, bowel cancer which had spread to my liver. At that time I went through six months of chemo, 30 day radiotherapy and an 11-hour operation to remove half my bowel and they had to reconstruct my colon and rectum.
“The second time was a year later, cancer came back in my liver they had to remove another 40 per cent so had another 11 hour operation. That was quite a difficult one as the tumour was on a main artery in my liver.
“The third time was five years later at my fifth year scan which usually means you’re clear, but a small shadow showed up on my lung.
“I had to have another operation in November there and had a third of my lung removed. I’ve never smoked a day in my life.”
Steven added: “All the doctors are a bit baffled, each time I had cancer it was the kind of thing you would get in your 50s, 60s or 70s, it’s a one in a million chance for someone in their 30s.”
Surprisingly there have been a few positives from the experience, including his running and also discovering a new passion which became a business, in the form of the Red Cross Tattoo Parlour which he ran for three-and-a-half years in Market Place and which he only closed late last year as a precaution because he did not know how drastic his lung operation would be.
Steven said: “After my first operation I came out and did a 10K which was two days after finishing treatment. Throughout my treatment I just kept going to the gym and running.
“It gave me something to aim for.
“I managed to open my own business and continue with my life, I hope to start my business again soon after this latest setback. Almost all stories of cancer are negative and I think this scares many people from going for check ups or seeking advice when they have symptoms.
“I would like to show that it’s not a death sentence and you can continue to live your life and even improve on it following cancer.”
Sponsorship forms will be available in various shops around the town, or you can donate online at http://www.justgiving.com/Steve-Barnes76/ or alternatively by contacting Steven Barnes on Facebook.