A Dudley man whose cancer battle encourages thousands when it is broadcast at the start of Race for Life events across the region pulled on his trainers to take part in an event himself.
Adrian Webb was given 12 months to live eight years ago after skin cancer spread to his lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, spine and bowels.
But thanks to trial drug treatment, he was well enough to take part in the event for the first time with the son and daughter he feared he’d never see to adulthood.
Josh and Amelia Webb were just 17 and 19 when Adrian was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2012.
The pair joined their mum and dad at the Himley Hall Race for Life in Dudley on Sunday, September 26.
Adrian’s voice was played out in a broadcast to the participants, and will continue to be played at scores of events across the Midlands in September and October.
“When I was told the cancer had spread I didn’t know how to explain to my wife and children that I’d never see my daughter walk down the aisle,” said Adrian, who is due to be best man at his son Josh’s wedding next July.
“I turned to my consultant and said ‘you’re not going to leave me to die are you? Surely there’s some hope somewhere. He offered me a trial drug programme and I jumped at the chance.”
He was given surgery and radiotherapy but it was too late. By 2013 the cancer had spread all around his body.
“I thought that was it,” said Adrian, a manager at Headstock Distribution in Halesowen. “I cried like a baby but, in the end, I thought – this is my life, I’m going to live it.”
Within weeks, Adrian started the first of three trials, which involved a cancer growth blocker and two new immunotherapy treatments, designed to trick his immune system into fighting the cancer.
Adrian was told the best outcome he could hope for was that the treatments would buy him precious time with his family.
“I would have done anything to buy myself that extra time,” said Adrian. “But incredibly, four years after I was told my cancer couldn’t be cured, I found myself cancer-free.
“The treatments have had side effects, for example I can no longer run due to early onset arthritis. But I remain forever grateful for the treatment that saved my life. That’s entirely down to people who generate the capital to fund cutting edge research.
“Thanks to people taking part in events like Race for Life, I got to see my daughter graduate, I will be my son’s best man and I will, one day, walk my daughter down the aisle.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, which has been in partnership with Tesco for 20 years, is a series of 3K, 5K, 10K, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.
Paula Young, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the West Midlands, said: “We’re so grateful to Adrian and his family for their continued support.
“It was sad to see all 400 mass participation Race for Life events across the UK cancelled in 2020 but, this last year proves, more than any other, the value of investing in science and medical research and what can be achieved by working together.
“Just as science is our route out of the pandemic, Adrian’s story shows that science is our route to beating cancer. Race for Life offers the perfect opportunity for people to run, walk or jog and raise money for life-saving research.”
People can visit raceforlife.org to enter. Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, saving lives as the charity fights back from the impact of the pandemic.
Enter now at raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.
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