Young cancer survivor battles knee damage to help trust

Harry Lehane running in the Brighton Marathon last year, after getting the all clear from cancer MYkFHr5KV9V775HDuH53
Harry Lehane running in the Brighton Marathon last year, after getting the all clear from cancer MYkFHr5KV9V775HDuH53

KNEE damage, pain and exhaustion did not stop young musician Harry Lehane from completing the Brighton Marathon earlier this year.

He had already been through months of treatment for cancer, so the 23-year-old was not going to let his first marathon run beat him.

Harry in hospital with testicular cancer when he was 20

Harry in hospital with testicular cancer when he was 20

Harry, from Bognor Regis, suffered badly with injuries during his marathon training and on the day, damaging his knee at mile nine. Despite the pain and exhaustion, he completed the race in seven hours, ten minutes, raising more than £1,500 for Teenage Cancer Trust.

“There were times when I didn’t think I’d finish the race, it was so incredibly tough,” he said.

“But I wouldn’t let it beat me. Teenage Cancer Trust helped me and now it is my turn to help them. If sharing my story can encourage any runners to sign up to the Brighton Marathon in 2016, I’d be over the moon.”

Harry was 20 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in June 2011. He first noticed swelling and tenderness, then started experiencing stomach pains and was too tired to go to college. He also started to lose weight.

For months, he was too afraid to go to his GP but once he did see his doctor, he was quickly referred to a urology specialist.

Two weeks later, on the final Friday of his course at Chichester College, he received a call telling him to go to hospital straight away.

He was taken to a room for an ultrasound scan, where a doctor told him there was a tumour and it would removed on the Monday.

Harry said: “I was told by doctors that they would have liked to have found the tumour earlier to avoid any further treatment but it was too late.

“The cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes and I had to have a few months of chemotherapy, which I started in September 2011.

“I didn’t know it could be possible to be that sick without dying and it’s something I will always remember.”

After celebrating his 21st birthday, thinking he could get on with his life again, Harry was told the chemotherapy had not been as effective as doctors had hoped.

“I had to have a pretty major operation to remove the rest of the cancer, along with 66 lymph nodes, which I was told was the most they have ever removed in a human being,” he added.

“The operation was a success and I spent about a week in hospital recovering and learning to walk again. If you had all your organs taken out and then put back in again, you will understand what I mean.”

A few months later, on April 12, 2013, it was confirmed that the surgeons had removed all of the tumour and Harry was in remission.

“It was the best feeling of my life and it will be a moment I will never forget,” he said. “I have got my war wounds to remind me of what I went through and how strong I came out the other end.”

He said Teenage Cancer Trust saved his life and he was truly grateful, so exactly two years after hearing the good news, he ran the Brighton Marathon on April 12, 2015, to support the charity. Now, he is making an emotional plea for others to take on the challenge in 2016 in aid of the trust.

Harry said: “I hope more people choose to run for Teenage Cancer Trust as they provide the best possible care for young people, like me, before, during and after cancer. They’re amazing.”

Jade McShane, regional fundraiser at the trust, said: “We are so proud of what Harry achieved in Brighton. He overcame incredible odds to complete that race. If Harry can do it, after everything he has been through, then anyone can.”

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