Adrian Webb

Adrian's Three Peaks Challenge page

Fundraising for Cancer Research UK
raised of £25,000 target
by 305 supporters
Participants: Dean Sherwood, Matt Hodnett, Nic Norton, Dani Harris,Tilly Norton
Cancer Research UK

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RCN 1089464, SC041666, 1103 & 247
We pioneer life-saving cancer research to help us beat cancer


Adrian Webb:  I survived Cancer

I decided to share my story because I want everyone to know that love, hope and the determination to live can inspire us all to achieve great things. The combination of these things has developed in me the positive attitude that was critical to live, understand and believe that I had the inner strength to survive whatever life could throw at me. And now it’s your chance to live your life every day as if today is another special amazing day… because it truly is.

Cancer is just a term and shouldn’t be such a feared word but believe me… when you have it you’re pretty frightened! It was in September 2012 is when I first began to live with the word CANCER at the age of 47.

Fortunately for me I have loving wife Michele who is very observant and I have her to thank for arranging an appointment with my GP (much to my annoyance and inconvenience) for an investigative review on a mole in the centre of my back. The mole had recently changed colour. The GP advised me to have a biopsy was advised and in the following weeks and to worst fears were realised as the biopsy proved to be Melanoma… skin cancer. 

Things moved quickly and although I was scared and still reeling from the diagnosis, events took over. Surgery was planned to remove a large amount of surrounding tissue in a triangular form of approximately 8 inches along each side of the triangle and believe me when I say that’s a nice sized piece of meat! This was suggested to be a cautionary exercise and the Melanoma was classed as ‘in-situ’ meaning an impregnation below skin tissue.

Despite only being a cautionary removal a few weeks later I found a lump under my right arm pit which I initially thought to be a pulled muscle, but my wife again insisted I report it to the dermatology/oncology team currently at City Hospital in Birmingham, UK. I think I was in denial; it was a typical response I suppose – this would never happen to me! 

I was advised after further biopsies that I would be referred for specialist support at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. I was informed that further surgery was required to remove the lymph glands from my left side; being reassured that these were the best doctors in the country to deal with this type of cancer – what can I say… it was true! However despite all of these assurances you become suddenly aware that your life rests in someone else’s hands. These professionals become the thing that holds you between life and death. You begin to pray that they learned their lessons well and they are not just good but great at what they do.

Dr Singh patiently talked me through the planned surgery; things were moving very fast. At times it was moving too fast, I didn’t have tome to think; family were asking questions that I didn’t have the answers to and quite frankly I didn’t want to answer them – I was concentrating on survival, not their fears of losing me!  This sometimes made me insular and it’s here that you need an understanding family that works with your needs rather than theirs.

Recovery was difficult at this stage, I felt ill for most of the time, I was afraid and felt isolated, even from my loving family. This was suddenly my fight but hey… things needed to remain positive if I was going to beat this! The desire to live began here…

I agreed to take a course of 20 days continuous Radiotherapy, reducing the risk of recurrence to 10%. Wow I thought… things are beginning to look up! I planned 8am treatment sessions each morning in an attempt to keep a regular work pattern. Work is important, it gives you another focus; it keeps you doing something worthwhile. I decided that if I remained comfortable this would be a good thing. This was a real, positive move; keeping things as normal as possible helps you keep your sanity! As boring as it sounds simply keeping a typical day-to-day normal life is a great thing. You family try to get you to take time off, sometimes I was tempted but for me I just had to keep going, even on the days it would have been easier to stop. 

By now I had been diagnosed with Melanoma for almost a year. However things rarely run smoothly with this condition and a few months on from the radiotherapy programme I developed 5 Ping-Pong ball type lumps randomly over my body so back off to QE I went! 

The diagnosis was not a good one… I now had full-blown stage 4 Melanoma that had seeded itself in my lungs, bowel, liver and spine. This was the first time I had been told that this was serious and that I needed to be appointed to a melanoma specialist Dr Stevens.

At the meeting the bad news continued; I was told that the advancement of the melanoma meant that my life expectancy would be as little as one year. I sobbed for what appeared to be 10 minutes, hardly being able to breathe. This is real life changing news believe me! I recall finding enough space between tears to ask and make the statement to Dr Stevens “Surely there are options?”

We sat and talked very openly about potential trial drug therapies available should I be found to be acceptable.  I obviously leapt at any chance of regaining time!

In November 2013 I was accepted onto a new trial plan of two drugs that had never been used together [Dadrafenib/Trametinib] and this proved to be a very successful 12-month plan. There were times when the illness overtook the drugs but these things were potent!

By October 2014 my Melanoma had reduced substantially and the planned review was now due. Dr Stevens suggested that although you could argue there was no cause for change we knew that melanoma is a very clever aggressive cancer and would ‘out think’ the drug plan, eventually. I was also now only 20% of the survivors on the year plan. This again opened my eyes to reality, but hey how lucky did I feel?

Dr. Stevens suggested that a new intravenous drug had proved to be even more successful and he would try and get me onto the trial. I agreed to give it a go as the trial figures might give me a further 10% chance on top of the 20% from the initial trial. Although this was a risk; unknown territory…. This could prove to be the one!

A trial plan of a series of 4 Epilimumab treatments was agreed in the forthcoming weeks and I was buzzing with excitement and feeling very fit and well. Through the last 12 months I had also managed to return to my gym classes of Boxercise and Bootcamp. Whoop! Exercise is SO important; it’s not just the physical fitness it’s what it gives you mentally. The psychological fitness, feeling good about being you that really makes the difference. You and the drugs working together for a great purpose and outcome… LIFE!

Throughout November and December 2014 I completed 3 of the planned therapies, but due to the unknown territory of trials I was slightly overdosed and causing my pituitary gland became massively stressed. But hey I’m the survivor who never gives up!

During Christmas 2104 and the New Year doctors started to support the repair to my pituitary and other affected glands; work that is to a degree still ongoing.

Right now I have planned CT and MRI scans that will confirm the drugs necessary for me to continue my journey. It is something I continue to live with, fighting day by day for that ultimate beautiful prize… LIFE!

I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I also know that I’m blessed and surrounded with loving caring family and friends who support my desire to fight for survival and live my hopes and dreams right alongside me.

I have to see my daughter Amelia graduate and one day walk her down the aisle.  Maybe I will even see me son Joshua marry one day… as I said I live in hope!

In 2014 my wife set up my personal Just-giving site with my chosen charity to be Cancer Research UK. She planned a BBQ summer birthday where I agreed to donate all my birthday presents from friends into my chosen charity. In 2014 I managed to gain over £600 for my charity and this year is going to be enormous.

  • April 12th The Wolf Run
  • May 16th The Spartan Challenge
  • June 27th The Three Peaks Challenge

Please support me and help others survive…

This is my story of not just me, but the kind loving people who support me with simple, but very effective no rules friendship and I’m lucky…  

About the charity

Cancer Research UK

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1089464, SC041666, 1103 & 247
We‘re the world‘s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving and improving lives through research. We fund research into the prevention, detection and treatment of more than 200 types of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.

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