It’s shocking and quite frankly, devastating, to be diagnosed with any type of cancer at any age. It can be hard to stay positive as your life completely changes as a result of something you were never expecting. Its an experience you can’t mentally or physically prepare for.
Steffan Lewis, 34 year old member of the UK National Assembly, has shown an immense amount of resilience through his own cancer diagnosis. His journey inspired him to contribute to cancer research.
Steffan is in a unique position as a cancer patient because he is also in a position of power. His ability to reach a wide audience helped him in his contributions to the October 2018 fundraising campaign for Stand up to Cancer. The campaign began in 2012 and is run by Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK. Since its start, the campaign has raised £38 million for cancer research. It helps to fund research for new treatments and supports clinical trials.
Steffan was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 33. When he walked into the doctors office that day, the thought that he may have cancer never even crossed his mind.
He was told he was stage four and the cancer had already spread to his liver, his lungs, and his lymph nodes.
However, Steffan’s hardly let his diagnosis slow him down. He’s continued in his role in the National Assembly in addition to becoming a advocate for cancer research. Not only is he a supporter of Stand up to Cancer, but just this past July he raised more than £15,000 through a fundraising walk his sister helped put on.
“The more people that join the fight now, the sooner we can beat cancer for everyone.”
That’s Steffan’s moto.
Cancer in the UK
In the UK, someone is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes and worldwide, it kills more people than tuberculosis, aids, and malaria do combined.
Research has brought progress though. For instance, only 70% of men diagnosed with testicular cancer in England used to live 10 years past their diagnosis. That number is now up to 98%.
Much of the progress comes from the results of positive clinical trials, something Steffan himself is currently a part of. So far, he’s responded well to the treatment and he says he’s looking forward to a holiday season with his family where he won’t have to be going through chemotherapy.
Steffan admits that the cancer affects most aspects of his life. But nonetheless, he says he’s determined to keep his life as normal as possible, and not give up on doing the things he loves.
“…I’m not allowing it to diminish who I am, my personality and what makes me, me.”
You can read more of Steffan’s story and how he’s made an impact cancer research here.