Chef’s delight at end of cancer ordeal

Chris Dickson and his wife Sharon celebrate the news that Chris is free of cancer after a two-year battle against the disease.
Chris Dickson and his wife Sharon celebrate the news that Chris is free of cancer after a two-year battle against the disease.

A popular chef has been given the best birthday present ever – the news that he’s finally free from cancer.

Chris Dickson, who turns 39 tomorrow, has cause for double celebration after being told he’s won his two-year battle against the disease.

Dad-of-four Chris, from Morecambe, was diagnosed with grade 1 bladder cancer in August 2013.

He had two tumours removed in September 2013 and then one dose of chemotherapy, followed by six further weeks of chemo after multiple recurrence of tumours. Then 16 small tumours were discovered, so treatment continued, then five tumours were found, then two.

But doctors at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary told him at his check up on Friday that there were no tumours to be found.

Chris, head chef at the University of Cumbria in Lancaster, said: “It’s unbelievable, I’m walking around work with a smile on my face. You can’t imagine the relief.

“When they told me it was total shock. It was a big weight off my shoulders.

“It was unexpected. For the last two years whenever I’ve gone back, they’ve found tumours.

“I used to take (my daughter)Maisy around Happy Mount Park and I’d think, will I still be doing this in three years’ time? To not have to think like that is really good.”

Chris said he has tried to remain upbeat throughout his treatment and believes this has helped with his recovery.

“I’ve always remained quite positive and got on with life. “I didn’t lose my hair because they injected the chemo right into the bladder so it didn’t go around my body. A lot of people lose weight when they have chemo but I’ve put on weight! They’ve put me on a diet now.”

In November 2014, Chris was told worldwide shortages meant he wouldn’t get a full dose of a life-saving drug called BCG, a live but weakened strain of bovine TB also used to fight tuberculosis.

Hertfordshire-based company MSD said the global shortage was due to increased worldwide demand and a manufacturing issue.

But after Chris’ ordeal was highlighted in The Visitor, he was given the treatment after all.

He was then given a different course of treatment which he said was “absolute agony” but it appears to have helped to finally rid his bladder of the tumours.

“Thank you to The Visitor for supporting me,” said Chris.

He also thanked his wife Sharon, stepson Ryan, daughters Olivia, Amber and Maisy, and everyone else who has supported him.

“I’ve had a huge amount of support from my family, friends and colleagues. Work has been brilliant.

“The nurses at the RLI have been absolutely fabulous.

“My daughter Olivia is doing her GCSE exams at the moment.

“She has been brilliant. Now she can concentrate on finishing them without having the worry.”