On 28 September 2018 I was diagnosed with Stage II testicular cancer. The technical name for my diagnosis is retroperitoneal seminoma, which is a fancy way of saying that while the boys (my balls) look okay, the tumour has formed elsewhere in my body. In my case, the tumour has taken the form of a 13cm mass in my abdomen. It's sort of like being pregnant, if you were expecting the child of Satan.
Fortunately, this type of cancer is highly treatable. In that respect, I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm currently on round two of BEP chemotherapy. Fast forward to the end of round three and, fingers crossed, the cancer should be well on its way back to the fiery depths of hell.
Others aren't so lucky, and in an effort to raise money for charity and raise awareness of testicular cancer, ten of my close friends have courageously signed-up to shave their heads and join me as Voldemort lookalikes. One has even went to the lengths of getting an anchor shaped tattoo. Others have signed up to take part in Movember.
All donations will be going to Friends of ANCHOR, a charity that helps cancer and haematology patients from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Orkney and Shetland. Donations received by the charity go toward purchasing advanced surgical and diagnostic medical equipment and funding ground-breaking research to improve diagnosis and treatment for cancer.
Donations are also spent on patient wellbeing for those receiving treatment in the ANCHOR unit, with funds going towards a wealth of complimentary wellbeing services. Items and services provided to patients include, to name a few, headwear, Dyson fans, DVD players with a vast selection of DVDs, thermometers for each patient and moisturising cream. In-patient support includes counselling and professional wig-styling. This all goes a long way to making sure that those who do receive treatment in the ANCHOR unit have the support they need in their fight against cancer. Having been receiving my treatment for four weeks now in the ANCHOR unit, I've witnessed first hand the fantastic things that the charity does to support cancer sufferers in Aberdeen and the surrounding areas - the difference they are making to people's lives (including my own) is truly incredible.
Any donations at all would be greatly appreciated and will go a long way to helping Friends of ANCHOR support cancer sufferers in the North East. Importantly, all funds received go towards the cause, with the administrative costs of the charity being funded separately.
The support I have received from my friends, family, colleagues, members of NHS staff at the ARI and the volunteers from Friends of ANCHOR has been absolutely incredible. You can't get through these sorts of things alone. It means a lot. Thanks, folks.