Nathan’s half marathon effort to thank Leeds medics who saved his life

23/03/2017

A move to Leeds could have helped save the life of a student who had no idea he was suffering from cancer.

While at university in Northampton, Nathan McGregor developed a lump on his neck. He had seen doctors over a nine-month period, but it was not thought to be a problem and wasn’t investigated.

Shortly after he moved to Leeds to work as a draughtsman in 2015, however, he registered with a new GP – who instantly spotted that the lump could be something more sinister. The lump was diagnosed as stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and within two weeks Nathan was undergoing chemotherapy at St James’s Hospital.

Nathan, now 23, and in remission, said: “When the lump appeared, I just thought it was a swollen gland or something like that. By the time it was diagnosed, it was the size of a small rubber bouncy ball, but still ‘cancer’ is not the first thing you think about.

“Thank goodness the new GP realised what it might have been as by the time I was seen, the cancer was at stage three.

“It was a really stressful time, moving to a new city, starting a new job and then being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 22 … it all happened really quickly, but the team in Leeds were great.”

Nathan was treated by the Teenage Cancer Trust ward at Jimmy’s for a total of six months, undergoing his last round of chemo on New Year’s Eve 2015. He was last discharged from hospital in February 2016, but was left severely fatigued by his ordeal.

After he finished his treatment, he was put in touch with a volunteer trainer to help him with his rehabilitation – and in five months ran the Leeds 10K in 2016.

He’s now upping his efforts and taking on his first Leeds Half Marathon in May this year.

Nathan said: “I was put in contact with a volunteer trainer who had experience rehabilitating injured soldiers and supporting people with severe brain injuries with exercise.

“The trainer helped get myself and others whom had finished their treatment into fitness. The specialist advice helped a great deal as at the time I did have to be careful and not push myself too hard as I was more susceptible to injury and fatigue being a few months out of treatment.

“The peer support along with the tailored advice helped me get from feeling extremely fatigued after a 20 minute walk in early March to running the Leeds 10K in July of last year.”

Nathan is raising funds to support the Teenage Cancer Trust and can be sponsored at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Nathan-McGregor1

 
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