A FATHER-of-three of three diagnosed with bowel cancer just before his 50th birthday is helping raise awareness of his disease and funds for life-saving research.
Stuart Riddell of Edinburgh is joining forces with Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 to back Stand Up To Cancer.
By taking part in Stand Up To Cancer, he is uniting with doctors, nurses, scientists and celebrities to generate funds, raise awareness and accelerate progress in life-saving cancer research.
Stuart, now 53, knows how crucial new discoveries and breakthroughs are to help people like him survive. The PR consultant told how rapid weight loss and stomach pain over several months prompted him to visit his GP.
After a scan at the Western General Hospital in March 2013, Stuart learned he had cancer.
Stuart said: “They came in to the ward, pulled the curtain around my bed for a bit of privacy and I just knew.
“They told me I had two tumours. They could operate to remove one tumour and they’d see what they could do with the other one. When that curtain went back after it felt like everything had changed, not just for me but for everyone I knew.”
Stuart endured a six-hour operation which successfully removed one tumour followed by six cycles of chemotherapy then five weeks of combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy which took nine months.
Surgeons were unable to cut out the second tumour as it was too close to a major artery. Support from his wife Alison, and children Duncan, 22, Louise, 20, and Claire, 16, helped pull him through.
The cancer has not gone completely but Stuart, who has tests every third month, is upbeat about the future. He is now keen to urge people to visit their doctor if they think they may have a problem.
All Scots aged between 50 and 74 are eligible for a free test for bowel cancer, the third most common cancer in Scotland.
Stuart said: “Since my diagnosis I’ve urged all my friends to take the test. It’s free and simple and it really could save your life.
“The last thing I want to feel is that cancer is ruling me. Thanks to research and treatment, I’m still here today.”
Launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer has already raised £25 million to fund research, which takes developments in the lab and transforms them into brand new tests and treatments for cancer patients.
This year’s campaign culminates on October 21 with a night of live TV on Channel 4 led by the brightest stars in film, TV and music.
Cancer Research UK is calling for people to take a stand and do something to help raise money for its pioneering work at work or home, such as fancy dress days, sponsored silences and bake sales.