Cancer sufferer leaps out of plane for charity

Ross Tomlinson - Leyland cancer patient on a skydive
Ross Tomlinson - Leyland cancer patient on a skydive

A Leyland man battling a brain tumour has raised £12,000 for the hospital credited with saving his life by completing a skydive.

Ross Tomlinson amazed doctors and nurses by completing the jump despite still receiving chemotherapy.

On Friday the 20-year-old was the guest of honour at a fundraising ‘Glitz n Britz’ gala charity evening organised by Chorley Building Society, where his mother Linda works.

The staff at the building society are trying to raise £20,000 for the Young Oncology Unit at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, where he’s being treated.

Ross lives in Church Road, Leyland, and his mum Linda Tomlinson, who works at the building society, said the last two years have been the hardest of her life since her son was diagnosed with a condition called medulloblastoma in June 2009.

Speaking on Friday night at the DeVere Venues White Hotel, in Bolton, where the Chorley Building Society fundraiser was held, Ross said: “It started when I got headaches and became dizzy.”

The former Balshaw’s High School pupil underwent a CT scan at Chorley hospital but the prognosis couldn’t have been any worse.

Mum Linda said: “It was frightening. We were given no hope. We were transferred to the neuro surgery unit at the Royal Preston Hospital, who said it was treatable.

“He underwent surgery and they removed a tumour the size of an egg.”

Ross, who was on an apprenticeship with Barratts, underwent radiotherapy and saw his weight balloon to 16-and-a-half stones.

Unfortunately tests revealed the cancer had spread to his bone marrow and neck.

Linda said: “It was a nightmare. Ross is my youngest child and I felt totally helpless. I would gladly have swapped places with him.”

She said the big breakthrough was being referred to a Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Christie in Manchester.

The unit where Ross is treated provides care for teenagers and young adults, up to 24, with cancer and related illnesses.

Linda said: “They threw everything at him including six lots of chemotherapy. He is a very strong individual.

“He had another tumour removed in February 2010. In the last seven or eight months he’s probably spent 80 per cent of his time at Christies.”

Ross said: “All my scans are clear. I’ve got three per cent (of the cancer) left in my bone marrow and I’m on maintenance chemotherapy.” Despite that he was still able to take part in a fundraising skydive last month that raised £12,0000 for Christies.

His mum praised her employers at Chorley Building Society, where colleagues came together on Friday to raise money on his behalf.

Stars of Coronation Street, Shameless, Benidorm and Phoenix Nights attended the gala evening.

Fundraiser Lynda Millward, from Chorley Building Society, said: “Teenage Cancer Trust units aren’t like ordinary cancer wards.

“Everything about them has been designed to give teenagers the very best chance of a positive outcome and they want every young person with cancer in this country to have that chance.

“We have been inspired by the way the unit has cared for Ross and are hoping to raise funds to purchase specialist medical equipment and items that will make a teenager’s stay at the unit more comfortable.”