A FATHER-OF-THREE says he is “planning for the future” as he prepares to celebrate five years since the end of his treatment for incurable bowel cancer.
Stuart Riddell, 55, recalled the “uncertain life” he faced after a scan at the capital’s Western General Hospital in March 2013 to find the cause of severe stomach pains led to him being diagnosed with two tumours.
Stuart endured a six-hour operation which successfully removed one of the tumours discovered by oncologists, followed by six cycles of chemotherapy then five weeks of combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy which took nine months.
But now, almost five years after an arduous programme of treatment for the disease ended, the PR consultant says he can “see his horizons widening” as he approaches the remission stage.
Stuart, who now lives in East Linton, was speaking after delivering a speech to a gala dinner for a national campaign aimed at funding research into the condition.
The ScottishPower Stand Up To Cancer fundraising dinner was hosted by Capital Radio presenter Des Clarke and featured comedic performances from the likes of Karen Hobbs, Janey Godley and Stuart Mitchell.
The event, held at St Andrews in the Square in Glasgow, raised more than £68,000 for Cancer Research UK and was part of the Channel 4-backed national campaign.
Speaking after the event, Stuart said: “The way I’m looking at it now, I am planning ahead, it almost started subconsciously. When you are undergoing treatment, it’s week-by-week or month-by-month, but the longer you keep going, you start extending that.”
“December will be five years since my treatment ended and that is the stage when they start talking about it going into remission.”
During the speech, Stuart talked to the packed event about the difficulties balancing his condition with family life and the toll the illness took on wife Alison and children, Duncan, Louise and Claire.
He said: “The way we talked about it, I didn’t want there to be any fear about saying the word ‘cancer,’ there is a real fear of even saying the word aloud.
“We made sure that was something we did, we had a sense of humour about it. Obviously that doesn’t work for everyone, but that is the way we did it.
“People going out there and talking about their experiences helps anyone else going through the same thing and that in turn convinces people to donate to campaigns like this. That £68,000, it is such a meaningful figure, the patients, everyone who is affected by cancer, we really feel that positivity.”
Mark Bowen, UK Marketing Director of ScottishPower, said: “Supporting the amazing work of Stand Up To Cancer is incredibly important to us and we’re honoured to be an official partner and have the chance to raise as much money as we can to fund game-changing research.”