How it started... how it's going graphic

Where were you ten years ago? What has changed for you? What does the future hold?

Throughout the year, we will drop in on the people who have shared part of their sarcoma journey with us over the past decade.

Just three little questions with a huge variety of answers. Would you like to share your story? Just answer the three questions, tell us a little about yourself, and send two photos of you, back then and today, to tenyears@sarcoma.org.uk

Lesley Abraham

Lesley Abraham

Lesley was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in January 2006. She was a founder trustee of Sarcoma UK and pivotal in establishing the Liverpool, Merseyside & North Wales Sarcoma Support Group.

  • Where were you ten years ago?  

I was fighting for 18 months to get diagnosed when I first encountered sarcoma. I was a full-time mum to our two children aged 8 and 9. 

  • What has changed for you?  

I live life in the positive and help in any way I can to get early diagnosis for sarcoma patients. Clear pathways are key. 

  • What does the future hold? 

Since my diagnosis in 2006, the set up of Sarcoma UK has seen a huge improvement to patients diagnosed with sarcoma and much better communication and support especially the Support Line. I see more progress in the future to improve in the good work already done. 

Lindsey Bennister

Lindsey Bennister was Chief Executive of Sarcoma UK from 2010 to 2018.

Emma McCloskey

Emma McCloskey

Emma lives in Warrington and previously worked in the travel sector.  Emma was diagnosed with sarcoma in 2012 and blogged about her experience of treatment and recovery at dizzytix.com. She has recently celebrated her sixth year in remission

  • Where were you ten years ago?  I was enjoying life, working for the national airline and going to amazing places with my lovely man (my now husband)
  • What has changed for you?  
    Four years of sarcoma taking over my life; 9 years ago I was diagnosed with a 7.7lb tumour in my thigh. 8 years ago I had a recurrence in both lungs. Lost my hair 6 years ago, Just as we felt things were settling down, my husband and I eloped to Antigua. 10 weeks later, I had yet another recurrence (in just one lung!) I genuinely felt like sarcoma was going to be my life, forever. I’m hoping for my six-year all-clear this month…! Oh and since my hair grew back, I’ve been pink, purple, teal and grey!
  • What does the future hold? I continue to run the Sarcoma Patients Facebook page and co-run the Merseyside & Cheshire Support group. I no longer work in travel but it’s still a huge passion of mine. Still enjoying life and continuing to do so!

Follow Emma on Twitter and Instagram.

Ian Randall

How It Started Ian Randall

Ian was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma back in 2010. He has two sons and is a professional photographer. He has captured the excitement of many Team Sarcoma events over the years.

  • Where were you ten years ago?
    I was 18 years into a career as a Fire Officer in London. I also had a part-time job as a Fire Inspector and looking after two young boys.
  • What has changed for you?  
    I know I was very fortunate and incredibly lucky to get through and survive my treatment and surgery but I was unable to return to my career. That was a very tough time mentally and emotionally on top of the stress and worry since diagnosis in Dec 2010.
    The treatment has left me with ongoing issues but I have adjusted to what I can and can't do, frustrating at times but after treatment, anything is easier. 
    Now I am a sports and events photographer (which was always a passion) and I know when I need to rest up before and after shooting a game or event so that I don't get excessively tired.
  • What does the future hold?
    I'm VERY optimistic about the future for people affected by sarcoma. The amount of awareness about sarcoma has grown and grown and it's amazing to see. The incredible fundraisers raise so much money for vital research and trials which can only lead to better treatment options and greater survival rates. 

Follow Ian on Twitter, Instagram and online.

Ellie Waters

Content made on Kapwing

John Young

John and Sue Young

John lives in North Yorkshire with his wife, Sue. He was diagnosed with liposarcoma in 2016. Since then, John and Sue have gone on to raise funds for Sarcoma UK together, through a variety of ways.

Where were you ten years ago?

2011 was a year of hope and promise. My wife Sue and I had married in 2010, and we were just starting our future together. We were planning major building works to our new home and were kept busy with our now ten grandchildren. On top of this, the indications were that the surgery I had undergone in 2008 for prostate cancer had been successful, and that I was now cancer free.

What has changed for you?  

Life took a dramatic turn in 2015, when a large swelling on my left leg, (nicknamed by us ‘Lenny the lump’) which had previously been diagnosed as a benign lipoma, grew alarmingly.

An MRI scan detected an anomaly, and in January 2016 I was diagnosed with a liposarcoma. In February of that year, I underwent surgery to remove a mass which weighed 1.72 Kg (about four pounds). The large wound had to be drained every seven days, sometimes by as much as 1200mls of fluid (two pints).

Some weeks later, an infection developed which required admission to A&E, four further operations and five more weeks in hospital. Finally, I underwent six weeks of radiotherapy delivered by a tomotherapy machine, as the wound was too long for the conventional linear accelerators. Thanks to the skill and care of the North of England Bone & Soft Tissue Tumour Service at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle my treatment has been successful.

By 2021, health wise life had returned to near normal. After 13 years, my urologist has finally signed me off! The wound on my leg still affects my mobility to a limited extent, but in 2017 and again in 2019, I was able to complete the Great North Run, along with Sue, to raise funds for Sarcoma UK.

What does the future hold? 

Having passed the five-year point since my sarcoma diagnosis and treatment, I now view the future with increased optimism.  The pandemic has affected our lives like so many others, but we have been far from idle, and have continued to support Sarcoma UK through roadside stalls to sell garden plants. I am also now working from home as a Lay Research Grant Reviewer for Sarcoma UK. The charity has come a long way since my first involvement in 2016.