Lowestoft man determined to keep raising cash for charities
A LOWESTOFT man diagnosed with a rare form of cancer vowed this week to carrying on helping others with the disease – despite being told by doctors that he is now terminally ill.
Dean Lawson, of Stanford Street, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in December 2009.
Although he had ground-breaking surgery to treat it earlier this year, he was given the news four weeks ago that it is now terminal.
'In a way I am on the mend but I'm not going to get better,' Dean said.
'The chemo is keeping me going and I plan to be here another 10 to 15 years.'
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As The Journal first reported in February, Dean's brave battle against illness began when he went to his doctor after he became concerned about a lump above his collar bone.
The problem was initially put down to a muscle strain, but scans later revealed a tumour the size of an apple on his rib.
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After x-rays and MRI scans, Dean was told he was suffering from lung cancer but further biopsies revealed he actually had a Ewing's sarcoma – a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone or soft tissue.
So rare was his condition that the surgeon who performed his operation last December, had to practice first on a cadaver, having never previously seen a similar case in his 20 years in medicine.
The cancer has now spread to three of Dean's vertebrae, his collar bone and the front and back of his ribs, and this week he started his chemotherapy again.
But the former Bird's Eye worker is determined to keep positive.
'As far as dying goes it doesn't bother me now,' he said.
'I was originally told I had six months to live and that devastated me.
'Of course it bothers me what my friends and family feel but I've had this for nearly three years now and I still have so much to do.
'I'm never down. I like to make people smile as it keeps me happy and smiling too. I'm going to keep going.'
Dean now works behind the bar at the Mariner's Rest pub, on Rotterdam Road, where on Sunday he put on a charity auction and a day of entertainment to raise funds for the Palliative Care East (PCE) appeal.
Prizes were donated by local people and businesses, and so far the total raised has topped �3,800 with more donations expected.
PCE is raising funds to build and equip a new centre to provide specialist care for seriously ill people at the James Paget University Hospital and, despite his own condition, Dean is determine to do what he can to help.
'I want to do as much as I can to help and next time I want to raise money for Macmilliam nurses. The time they put in is amazing,' he said.
'I'm back on the original chemo now, but as long as it's fighting it's keeping it back.'