Cancer man finishes 5K walk despite warning

Ron Riley refuses to use his wheelchair. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Ron Riley refuses to use his wheelchair. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A CANCER-hit father who was told he would never walk again after a tumour developed next to his spine is proving the doctors wrong by completing in 5K event.

Businessman Ron Riley, 56, visited hospital with what he thought was a muscle tear in his shoulder but was released seven months later following life-saving treatment for a rare form of cancer.

The father of three was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma – a blood disease that causes tumours to develop in the abdomen and affects 12,000 people in the UK every year.

With a tumour resting on his spine, doctors warned Mr Riley he might never walk again.

But 300 days into remission – following surgery and chemotherapy – he still refuses to use his wheelchair and is set to raise £1800 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research by finishing a 5K walk.

Mr Riley, from Broxburn in West Lothian, said he lost seven stone in ten weeks from the intensive treatment to save his life.

“By the time they were able to come up with a diagnosis, my condition had completely deteriorated,” he said.

“I only went in to get an X-ray for my shoulder, and the doctors told me I wasn’t going anywhere. They started me on chemotherapy right away, but I wasn’t even aware of what was happening.

“They were pumping me with morphine 24 hours a day for the entire first stage of therapy.”

He added: “And because of where the tumour had been sitting against my spinal cord, I lost feeling from my waist all the way down to my toes. They said I would never walk again.”

According to Dr Colin Hunter, a GP and medical researcher, Mr Riley is suffering from an extremely aggressive disesase .

“Burkitt’s lymphoma is a high-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that is rapidly growing and aggressive,” he said. “A tumour can double in size in 18 hours.”

But months of gruelling work helped Ron to prove doctors wrong about their claim he would never walk again.

He said: “By Christmas, I worked my way up to crutches. Now, I’m finally able to walk again.”

Wife Trisha, 46, said her gung-ho husband has not sat still since.

She said: “He has a wheelchair, but refuses to use it. He is very stubborn, but it’s his stubborness that will get him through it.”

Later this month, Mr Riley will takes on a 5K walk around Glasgow to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.