Barrow cancer survivor celebrates 25th birthday planning to run London Marathon
A Barrow SHIPYARD sheet metal worker recovering from cancer celebrates his 25th birthday today.
Ryan Wilson was diagnosed with lymphoma, a blood cancer in the lymphatic system, in January 2021.
Ryan suffered from intense night sweats, fatigue and other symptoms before being diagnosed. A scan at Furness General Hospital confirmed Ryan had cancer and he was referred to Manchester’s internationally renowned cancer centre, The Christie.
“At first it really didn’t come through,” he said. “I hadn’t even heard of lymphoma before that. I was upset, no one wants this news, and it was the last thing I thought would happen at a young age. But once I understood, I was ready to start treatment.
“My family and friends were also shocked but they were so supportive. I couldn’t have made it through without them and can’t thank them enough. My partner Shannon was amazing, she stayed positive every day and it helped tremendously.
“The Christie was awesome. The staff made me feel so welcome and comfortable. Everyone was friendly and happy to help. They answered all my questions and helped me understand what each treatment was and the side effects.
“I started treatment, but my body didn’t handle the first type of chemotherapy well, and I ended up at Furness General with sepsis. While I was there I had further complications and ended up in intensive care in an induced coma. The staff at Furness General were amazing and I can’t thank them enough.
“The Christie’s specialist nurse, Martha Wilson, was also brilliant. She went out of her way to keep in touch with Shannon every day and explained everything. I’m very grateful.
“My consultant at The Christie then offered me a new treatment plan, a different type of chemotherapy that was gentler on my body and gave me more time to recover from treatment between each cycle.”
Ryan had 12 batches of chemotherapy over six months and completed treatment with 15 cycles of radiation therapy over three weeks.
While at the Christie, Ryan was treated in the Teenage and Young Adult Unit, a purpose-built £12million facility with single rooms, a dedicated gym and music room and two social areas for children. young patients. It opened in 2014 following a £10million donation from charity Christie.
Commenting on the unit, Ryan said: “I was surrounded by so many people my age who were going through the same thing, and it was nice to be able to talk to them about it. I really didn’t mind the two hour drive, knowing that I would be treated so well.
After recovering well from cancer, Ryan and Shannon, 24, married in November 2021. “Things are going really well for me right now,” he said. “I’m in remission, but I have regular check-ups at Christie’s. These make me feel more comfortable.
“I’m back at work and starting to feel like myself. I’m playing football again and recently started running to get in shape. It’s so nice to switch off for a while during the race. I have a great sense of accomplishment when I finish, especially if I beat a previous time or distance.
In addition to football and running, Ryan is an avid walker and loves attending festivals and music concerts.
He announced he hoped to run the London Marathon in 2023 to thank the cancer center for saving his life.
Fundraising played an important role in Ryan’s recovery.
“I feel like The Christie is really close to my heart now after everything they’ve done for me,” Ryan said. “They changed my life and did the same for so many other people. I’ve seen what they do firsthand, and it’s amazing. I want to be able to give back and help them continue the fantastic work they are doing.
“Fundraising helped keep my mind busy while I was on leave and going through treatment. It was nice to have something to focus on and it made me proud. We all know someone who has had cancer and it’s a great feeling to raise money for The Christie, I’ve raised over £15,000 so far.
Ryan had originally planned to run the London Marathon this year and was offered one of the most coveted places in the Christie charity in the prestigious event. But, as he began to step up his training this spring, he found he was in pain and still hadn’t returned to the level of fitness required to run a marathon.
“Although I have to retire in 2022, I still want to run the London Marathon in 2023 because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event known around the world,” Ryan said.
“Not many people can say they’ve done the London Marathon. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And no matter how long it takes, I’ll be proud to finish it for The Christie.
“Since I started fundraising for The Christie they have been very supportive. They keep in touch with me and are always on hand by phone or email if I need help. They even put my name in the hospital on a gold coin. It’s nice to be recognized and supported for what I do.