Being diagnosed with colon cancer at 27 came as quite a shock to Thom. Fighting through 12 rounds of chemotherapy, the support from his friends and family was invaluable.
'My dearest friend Lizzie was with me. My phone rang and I instantly had the feeling it was my results. I grabbed Lizzie's hand and answered the phone. Going through that experience with her was such an intense moment.
I wonder how much more difficult it is for people that don't have support?'
You don't feel like you're just doing something to raise money, you genuinely feel like you're part of a family. You're all there for one reason and the one reason isn't cancer. The one reason is actually life. Relieving someone's pain in life or making people feel better.
Following his diagnosis, emergency surgery and then 12 courses of chemotherapy left Thom feeling ‘like a complete zombie’. But Macmillan’s Mustard Tree Centre at Plymouth Hospital was there to support him. ‘It was unbelievable – it’s a little bit of heaven, the perfect environment.’
There he found support from the Macmillan team including Denise, a benefits adviser, 'In terms of the financial side of things, Denise told me exactly what I was entitled to. It just eases the burden because you've got enough to think about.'
Thom's treatment was successful and he felt as though he had a second chance. ‘I had the opportunity to give my life real substance and proper purpose. I decided I wanted to give back immediately.’
He organised a local cricket game with sponsorship, a barbecue, a bar and a cake sale. Over 2,000 people attended and he raised £20,000. This smashed the £5,000 he’d set out to raise and the event even got featured on TV.
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