A keen runner who beat cancer will be tackling an iconic race in the north of England to raise funds and inspire others suffering from the disease.
Paul Gee, 53, from Swindon, will take on the Great North Run just over 12 months after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, and just seven months after being discharged from hospital.
Paul, an ICA technician at Latton pumping station, is now training ahead of the event, and admits his original diagnosis was a shock to the family.
“It came totally out of the blue,” said Paul, a keen long-distance runner. “I started regurgitating meals and I thought I’d better get it checked out and when I was told it did knock me a little bit.
“It came at quite a bad time as my wife was coming out of remission of breast cancer as well, so it really was a shock.”
Determined to not let it beat him, he underwent two lots of chemotherapy and was then sent to undergo surgery to remove the cancerous tumour, but was then diagnosed with sepsis.
His operation was postponed as he fought the illness, and six weeks after on November 4, went under the knife. His recovery was not plain-sailing, suffering a major internal bleed, but just over a week later, he was discharged.
Ten days after discharge, Paul was re-admitted for almost a month after suffering complications, finally being released a week before Christmas. Then, on January 9, he was given the all-clear, much to the delight of his family, and returned to work on April 18.
Since returning to work, he’s returned to his beloved running, and is also planning on running the New York marathon in 2018.
Paul said: “It was a really hard six months, and at times I never thought I’d run again. But I tried to stay positive, and all my work colleagues and Thames Water helped me massively.
“But now, I’m over it and I’m doing the Great North Run and then later on the Swindon half marathon and I can’t wait.
“I’m doing it for two reasons. The first was to raise some money for Cancer Research, to try and give something back and try and help people who might be in a similar position to what I was.
“The second is to try and show people that you can make it through it, beat it, and come out the other side. There is life after cancer, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
If you would like to donate to Paul’s cause, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-gee5