Man who’s fought cancer 13 times will have Scots Olympic torch role

Lawrence will carry the torch from Edinburgh to St Andrews. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Lawrence will carry the torch from Edinburgh to St Andrews. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A FATHER-OF-TWO who has battled cancer 13 times has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch.

Lawrence Stewart, 34, from Bathgate, was told by doctors seven years ago that he would be lucky to see the birth of his second child.

But now, as he recovers from his latest period of illness, he is looking ahead to June 13 when he will take part in the Scottish leg of the relay, between Edinburgh and St Andrews.

He was nominated by his personal trainer Michael Smith, who has helped him with his fitness following his numerous operations and radiotherapy.

Mr Stewart said: “I was delighted just to be nominated, but then I found out I had actually been successful.

“Michael was asked if there was anyone he would be able to nominate to carry the torch, as part of his own application for a medical job in the Olympics.

“I was really touched that he nominated me.”

Mr Stewart has fought off leiomyosarcoma – a rare form of cancer classed as terminal – 13 times in the past 20 years.

His first diagnosis was in 1991 when he was just 14 and he has had tumours in his brain, lungs, stomach and liver.

In 2005, when his wife was pregnant with their second child, he was told he had only a short time to live, but that if he underwent more radiotherapy he would survive long enough to see the birth.

However, the treatment was successful and the cancer went into remission.

Mr Stewart, a former bank manager, said: “People keep congratulating me on what I have done, but I’ve not really done anything. I’ve had a life-threatening disease and all I have done is what the doctors said and just got better.”

Mr Stewart was hospitalised in October after a delayed swelling in his brain surfaced, brought on by radiotherapy he had last April.

He is still recovering from this latest illness, but is looking to the future and has started writing a book about his experiences over the past 20 years.

He said: “Because of what happened in October, I’m not fully better at the moment but I’m getting there. Carrying the Olympic torch has given me something to focus on and work towards.”

Mr Smith said: “Lawrence is such an inspiring guy.

“He’s had so much to deal with in his life but he’s so positive about things.

“He really deserves recognition for that and it’s great he’s getting to carry the torch.”