Arlo's Story

Published: 10 January 2024
In February 2023 Arlo was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. In September he saw an advert for the Big Day Out (now known as Walk to Support) at Battersea park 14th October.

Have you been helped by Macmillan?

Arlo and other Macmillan walkers in front of Battersea Power Station My name is Arlo Dew I’m 53 years old and on the 4th of February 2023 my life changed forever. This day, the day before my 53rd birthday I was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer and admitted to the Royal Marsden Hospital to have scans and start my treatment.

I was shell shocked as I walked out of the hospital after hearing those awful words from the consultant. I felt scared, lonely, all sorts of emotions. How would I tell my girlfriend? How would I tell my parents and friends?

I was contacted the following day by Macmillan and offered to sign up for the mailing and helpline services. And most importantly the Macmillan free counselling support services

I was blown away and took up all the help offered. My mind was racing with loads of questions. I had never been through anything like this before, Macmillan were there from day 1 and were always there to answer my queries.

I’m blessed to have an amazing family and circle of friends!. And my boss and employer were so supportive right from day 1.

I will be eternally grateful to the amazing staff at the Royal Marsden in Sutton, a world class hospital, they looked after me so well! On my first day the nurse said “Don’t worry we got you! We're gonna make you better!”

I commenced radiotherapy with chemotherapy in the first week in March, only 3-4 weeks after my diagnosis. Amazing really! 

Arlo with his medal That lasted for 6 weeks, and it was 5 days a week of attending the hospital. I was so well looked after, nothing is too much trouble. It was very hard going and by the end I could barely walk my body was drained of energy. But I just had to stay positive and keep going. It is not my time to go!

After my first round of treatment, I was given 3-4 weeks to rest and recover and then returned for scans and endoscopy camera to see how successful my treatment had been.

I was so scared and nervous, but on the 23rd May my consultant confirmed the news I had been dreaming of.

I had responded better than anyone had ever expected. The tumour has gone, just scarring remains. Wow! I was totally blown away.

Despite this, there was a strong possibility that the tumour could grow back and return so to be belt and braces I was booked in for 12 weeks of chemotherapy with one day a week on the infusion drip.

I kept going, stayed strong, tried to stay healthy, and most importantly walked every day and did some kind of exercise!

I would not say the 12 weeks was easy, in fact it was anything but. Some very tough days, weeks even.

I had never been through anything like this before. Macmillan was there to support me from Day 1.

Have you done any fundraising or volunteering for Macmillan, or plan to do so?

In September I saw an advert for the Big Day Out at Battersea park 14th October.

I was immediately determined to do something to help raise funds for Macmillan. The Big Day Out was perfect timing as it happened one week after I completed my cancer treatment and chemotherapy. I used the event to help me get through the treatment as I commenced walking training a month before and it helped keep me motivated strong and positive. It was such a positive experience I was surrounded and supported by my friends and work colleagues.

What an amazing day, so much positive energy and love around!

Since that day I have completed all my follow up scans. I remain all clear and now have been put on a 3 month watch so I return for scans and camera to make sure nothing returns.

I feel so lucky. And remain positive and blessed.

See you next year my Big Day Out family!

I would strongly encourage people who have  a similar story and cancer journey to get behind Macmillan and other cancer charities. As they provide vital assistance to people who need support and are going through the toughest of times. They provide a lifeline some where to ask the important questions, they have such skilled staff and experience of the full range of issues and emotions.

Arlo and Gregg wearing their Macmillan t-shirts near the start line