Cancer sufferer hopes to inspire others with book

REMARKABLE STRUGGLE: John Blackburn
REMARKABLE STRUGGLE: John Blackburn
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A cancer sufferer is writing his own book as a way of inspiring others not to give up.

John Blackburn, 63, from Bamber Bridge, was diagnosed with cancer of the bone marrow over two years ago.

The condition is incurable but, despite the bleak prognosis, John says he is determined to live life to the full and document his remarkable struggle as a message of hope for other sufferers.

John, who used to work at Chorley Library and is an avid Chorley FC fan, said: “I retired at the end of 2008 and was diagnosed with cancer not long after.

“The doctors found a tumour on my spine and I had to have an operation which meant I completely lost the use of my right leg.

“I was bed-ridden for a long time and, if I wanted to do anything, I had to be physically hoisted out of bed.

“I spent five months in hospital and doctors said they had done all they could.”

But John, who has two children and a grandson, says after a year in bed, he became determined not to let the cancer rule his life.

He said: “I got pneumonia and septic shock while I was in hospital and my brother, who was also suffering from cancer, died in the same week.

“But we got through it. That was the bleak part.

There is very much a light-hearted side to my story and I want to show that it’s not all doom and gloom.”

John is now working on his book with the help of wife Sue.

He said: “Anyone who knows me knows that when I go, I don’t want to do it quietly.

“A lot has happened in those two years and, from the beginning, I had no idea what to expect.

“I didn’t know how long I would have, but I’m still here.

“I have made such a lot of progress since coming out of hospital.

“At first I couldn’t stand up but now I can get up and downstairs. Getting up is an ordeal but I can wash and dress myself now. What I have is limited but compared to what I did have, it’s incredible.”

Doctors have given no indication of how long John might have left to live, so he has had to come to terms with the fact he might not see his young grandson grow up.

He said: “Things are heading in the right direction but this is not curable.

“My message really is that if somebody like me can cope with this, then anyone can.

“I’ve run away from needles before but now I have to have an injection into my stomach every day.

“I’m glad the doctors haven’t put a timeframe on me because I would feel like I am counting down.

“Every dad wants to see their children and grandchildren grow up but I don’t look much beyond that.

“My only aim is to last as long as I can, and hopefully to see my book published.”