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#SVWChallenge - Make a Donation: Wrestling Melanoma

Posted on 23 Feb 2017

As part of the #SVWChallenge we asked you all to make a donation on Thursday. We've seen them all over #SVW2017, clothes, time, money, old shoes, charity shop visits; you name it you donated it. When it came to an area to highlight for us there were many inspiring stories but this one caught our eye. It's slightly outside the traditional remit of Student Volunteering week but definitely worth sharing


Today we bring you the story of Mark Sims. Mark, a doctor and former medical student at the University of Leicester was diagnosed with a metastatic melanoma in February 2015 at the age of 26. Mark was given between 4 and 18 months to live. Mark had first been diagnosed with skin cancer at the age of 15. Mark maintained a blog and JustGiving page that talked of his own journey through his treatment. We'll let Mark's own words say it better than we can:

'My diagnosis is a shock and my story may show you this can happen to just about anyone. The week started well waking up on Monday morning, a bit stiff from a 10 mile run, that I did the day before, I was training for a half marathon. On Tuesday whilst celebrating pancake day with copious amounts of pancakes I noticed I had 3/10 abdominal pain on my right side. By the morning, despite co-codamol, I was barely able to move due to the pain. Being a doctor I refused to misuse an ambulance or A&E so stumbled to my GP who took one look at me; a quick touch of my abdomen and referred me to Kingston hospital for further investigation for suspected acute cholecystitis.

An ultrasound was arranged for me, which showed some abnormalities in my gallbladder and liver; a CT was instantly arranged for me. In the evening the doctor who clerked me in arrived with a clinical nurse specialist in melanoma. One look at her badge made my heart drop. I knew it was likely the cancer I had when I was 15 had come back! The cause of the pain is a moderate size tumour in my liver stretching the capsule. Further to this there are tumours in my lung and spleen.'

Since then Mark went through many phases of treatment, detailing his highs and lows along the way. He shared his story and showed the truth of his illness. In 2015 Mark received the Twitter Doctor of the Year by the British Medical Association.

In addition to this Mark set about fundraising for Cancer research UK. He set an initial target of £1000, which was quickly surpassed. To this date Mark has raised £120,415!

Unfortunately Mark lost his battle on Thursday 19 January 2017. Mark's story touched many people with donations from all over the globe. If you donate anything today then look at donating to Mark's legacy by giving to Cancer Research UK.

SVW Team

The SVW team coordinate the national campaign and are made up of the Student Volunteer Network, NUS and Student HUBS

Categories: Charities, Press