Stomach Cancer sufferer given 50% chance of survival is about to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Two years ago Tom Leeburn, 37, from London was diagnosed with stomach cancer and given a 50% chance of living the next 5 years.

He tells The London Economic about his upcoming brave adventure to climb the biggest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, to raise money for a fantastic cancer charity. See bottom of post for a chance to donate.

He has been in serious training and is ready to go on the 18th August.

Well, I’m still here.

So much so in fact, that I have decided to climb a mountain for a charity that are working wonders to help young adults with living with cancer and the affects of cancer, like myself.

I was working in Australia, in the TV industry, when I was given the diagnosis. It was so hard to deal with, especially as most of my family and friends were on the other side of the world.

The diagnosis wasn’t great and I underwent treatment there. There was no time to come home. Anyone who has been through cancer treatment will know how painful it is, and I lost my hair and my weight plummeted.

However, I was one of the “luckier” ones, my cancer treatment was successful but I have to go for regular check ups, to ensure it doesn’t return. The fear of these teats is something I have learnt to deal with.

Without being too cheesy, I have to take my recovery one day at a time. Recently I returned to the world of work, which was hard but it was the right choice, for me.

Although my treatment wasn’t easy, with encouragement from friends & family, I always managed to have a laugh and a giggle, even at the most inappropriate of times and with the most inappropriate of jokes. Be it the benefits of losing your hair if you’re ginger, troubles of dating with cancer (hard when people generally want something ‘long term’), or, as happened to me, the joys of a trip to a fertility clinic with my Mum. Never again.

Generally, my outlook during treatment was incredibly positive. There were lots of laughs, incredible experiences living each day as your last, and beautiful displays of love. I even saw my divorced parents hug for the first time in nearly 30 years.

However, what has proved somewhat harder than the treatment itself has been adjusting to life after treatment and learning to live with the affects of cancer. Not just the physical complexities of having the majority of my stomach removed, but the psychological impact too.

Facing cancer as young adult is tough and comes with a complex set of challenges that can effectively place your life on hold when everyone else can appear to be moving forward.

For me, this has had a knock on effect on my confidence, leaving me with increased anxiety and has culminated in a recent diagnosis of clinical depression.

This is where Trekstock came in to help.

Trekstock ensure that no young adult has to face cancer alone.

You can read more about Trekstock and the brilliant work they do here:

Trekstock exists to provide relevant practical and social support, helping young adults navigate their journey through and beyond treatment for cancer, and this is the reason I am so keen on supporting them in return.

I have to say thanks to the brilliant doctors and nurses I encountered both at home and abroad. The NHS is still amazing and we should be happy to have it. In particular, thanks to all the immigrants from all over the world who helped me. The NHS wouldn’t be the same without you.

So on the 18th August 2017 I’ll be joining Team Trekstock to take on the challenge of a lifetime by climbing the highest mountain in Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro.

For someone who can barely climb out of bed in the morning, climbing a mountain will be a huge challenge for me. As a result, I’ll need a much motivation as possible, and would appreciate any donations you can make to this great charity.

Trekstock provides the most amazing, intuitive, comprehensive advice and help for young adults in their 20s and 30s who are affected by cancer. This is the age gap that the NHS and other charities don’t provide bespoke support for – Trekstock plugs that gap.

Life as a young adult is tough. Try it with cancer.

Trekstock ensure that no young adult has to face cancer alone.

To donate to Tom’s charity CLICK HERE 




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