Diagnosed with a rare type of stomach cancer at the age of just 35, Leon Callon believed he would fight it – but just a few months later he was given the devastating news his condition was incurable.
Despite the prognosis, more than a year on Leon’s positive attitude continues to drive him forward, particularly with regards to the many fundraising activities organised by him and his family and friends. Working together as #TeamCallon, the group are busy with everything from bike rides to marathon runs in aid of St Catherine’s this year.
Leon, who lives in Hoghton with partner Klara, said: “When I was first diagnosed I threw myself into fundraising – that’s how I dealt with it. When I was told my condition was terminal, that determination only became stronger – I want to leave a legacy, a footprint to show I was here.”
Leon is currently undergoing gruelling chemotherapy to try and halt the growth of the tumours. “We are already on plan C after plans A and B didn’t work – there aren’t any further options for me,” he said.
Faced with such difficult symptoms and side effects, as well as the psychological impact of what he is going through, Leon said the support of St Catherine’s had been ‘invaluable’.
He regularly sees one of our speciality doctors – Dr Alison Bacon – and has also been referred to our community Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) team, who have helped him put plans in place for his care at the end of his life.
Leon said: “Alison has changed my life – she has given me some quality of life back. Bearing in mind my circumstances, it’s incredible in the first month of this year I’ve enjoyed pretty good health. She’s helped me with my medication and to bring my side effects under better control.
“Having Suzanne the CNS visit and help me get things in order is also really important for me – I have no power over this disease, but this is helping me to take back a bit of control.”
Leanne’s in a spin for St Catherine’s
Fitness fanatic Leanne Cawtherley is taking on the brutal challenge of completing a spin class a day for a whole year raising funds for St Catherine’s in honour of her good friend Leon.
The challenge, which began in December last year, will see her take part in a gruelling 21,900 minutes of spin class burning more than 180,000 calories!
She’s already raised £190, but is appealing for more sponsorship to help her meet her £1,000 target.
Leanne said: “Leon has become such an inspiration to me and many others. If he can run a half marathon and cycle the Leeds to Liverpool canal, all with cancer, then I want to make a difference too. I love spinning, but most definitely won’t find it easy. Every penny given to St Catherine’s will inspire me further as I continue this challenge throughout the year.”
To sponsor Leanne text LCLC72 followed by the amount you would like to donate to 70070 or click here.
Other fundraising feats being organised by #TeamCallon this year include:
To find out more or to donate to #TeamCallon click here.