A YOUNG man who has battled cancer three times in as many years says he is determined to take something positive from his ordeal - by working to start what he hopes will be the men’s equivalent of the Race for Life in Sheffield.
Joe Carter was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008 at the age of just 20.
He underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy at Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital and was told the cancer had been beaten.
But he was devastated when doctors told him nine months later that the disease had returned in his spine. Again he underwent treatment which he was initially told had been successful, but in January last year he was given the shattering news that it was back again - this time in both places.
Joe, who lives in Woodseats, is now set to begin a gruelling month of high-dose chemotherapy at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, when he will be kept in isolation and only able to see his closest loved ones in order to protect him from any infection.
But throughout the tough days ahead, Joe is sure the plans which are now in place for the Chase4Life men-only 5km run will keep him going.
The 22-year-old said: “Rather than being a victim to cancer, I am determined to take something positive from the whole ordeal.
“Rather than just sitting back and accepting that I’m poorly, I want to use the cancer and my experiences to help make a difference.”
The event takes place on Sunday, June 19, beginning at Abbeydale Sports Club and taking a route up to Dore village and back.
He and his dad John, who is helping to organise the race, hope it will take off as the men’s alternative to the women-only Race for Life, which has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for Cancer Research over the years.
Joe, who was working for his dad’s joinery business before he took ill and hopes to pursue a career in the charitable sector once he is well again, first noticed something was wrong when he began suffering from fatigue, double vision and headaches.
A visit to the opticians saw him referred to the Hallamshire Hospital where a biopsy on a tumour they found in his brain, confirmed it was cancerous.
After what medics believed was successful treatment, Joe began suffering intense back pain and started struggling to walk - leading to the second diagnosis of cancer in his spine.
When it returned again a few months later, doctors told him it was present in both locations and intense treatment was required.
He admitted he was feeling ‘nervous and anxious’ about what the next few weeks will hold.
But he added: “The thought of Chase4Life and what we are trying to achieve with it will keep me going I think.
“I don’t know what the future holds - I’ve been told before that the treatment has worked, but the cancer has still come back, so I don’t really know what to expect or believe. But I will continue taking each day at a time and carry on looking forward to what I hope will be a really successful event.”
Joe and John are appealing for sponsorship to help with the costs of staging the event and are also keen for men to sign up to take part.
n Visit chase4life.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.