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Ant Bigley, who was treated for testicular cancer, has shared his inspirational story in a powerful message to be played as people prepare to start the charity’s popular fundraising events across the North West this autumn.
Ant’s is one of 10 stories which will sound out throughout the UK and he says: “I hope my story will help connect with people in the moments before they set off on the course.
“It’s a privilege to have the chance to thank the amazing people who are fundraising to support the life-saving research.”
He adds: “Everything I’ve been through means I understand, all too clearly, why Cancer Research UK’s work is so important. It’s thanks to research that I can enjoy more time with the people I love.”
It was in 2008, while working as a police detention officer, that Ant had noticed a swelling in his testicle and developed symptoms of overwhelming tiredness.
One day the pain got so bad he was rushed from work to hospital in a squad car and, weeks later, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Ant underwent urgent surgery at Broadgreen Hospital to remove his right testicle and that was followed by an intensive six-week course of chemotherapy at the Liverpool Clatterbridge Centre.
He still receives testosterone injections every 10-12 weeks to maintain his hormone levels, and has check-ups every six months.
Married to Dawn, 52, with whom he has two children – Louise, 27, and Holly, 17 – Ant has always been passionate about karate, and teaches local children in the martial art. He gained his Black Belt two years ago which was a real achievement, having had to stop practicing when he became poorly.
The 47-year-old says: “I had the perfect life, a good family and an excellent network of friends. But my whole life changed when the doctor said I had cancer.
“Within weeks, I went from a relatively healthy young man to a shell of my former self.
“I feel proud to support Race for Life. And I’m so grateful for the treatment that helped save my life.”
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the North West, says: “We are grateful to Ant for his support.
“Race for Life offers the perfect opportunity for people across the North West to run, walk or jog and raise money for life-saving research.
“We know that 2020 was a year like no other and we had to overcome many challenges thrown our way during the global pandemic. But this past year proves, more than any other, the value of investing in science and medical research and what can be achieved by working together.
“Just like science is our route out of the pandemic, science is our route to beating cancer. We are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.”
And she adds: “All 400 Race for Life events across the UK were cancelled last year so this year, more than ever, we need people to enter, for the people we love, for the people we’ve lost, and for the one in two of us who will get cancer.”
There are Race for Live events across Merseyside:
Sefton Park – Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26
Aintree Racecourse – Sunday, October 3
Wirral Birkenhead Park – Saturday, October 9, and Sunday, October 10
Haydock Racecourse – Sunday, October 17
* Socially distanced measures will be in place to keep participants safe.
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