Halifax granddad who battled cancer back on our TV screen

John Anderson from Halifax with his family
John Anderson from Halifax with his family

A Halifax granddad who first appeared as part of a Cancer Research TV campaign in 2016 will reappear on our television screens.

In January 2016, viewers of the Cancer Research UK TV ad could watch the moment John Anderson, 70, was told that surgery for his skin cancer had been successful and it hadn’t spread.

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Now, over two and a half years since he was given the good news, a new updated version of the ad is currently being shown on national TV.

It captures John today laughing and playing at his daughter Paula’s home, with grandchildren Cameron, 14, Charlotte,16, and great grandchildren Oliver, 5, and Charlie, 2.

John said: “Having had cancer, I know all too clearly why Cancer Research UK’s work is so important.

"I appreciate time with my family and friends so much more and cherish the moments I used to take for granted. It was all nearly taken away from me.

“I want to do everything I can to raise awareness of the power of research in beating the disease.”

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John was diagnosed with skin cancer after his partner, Freda, spotted a bleeding mole on his back in June 2015 while on holiday.

Tests revealed it was malignant melanoma and John underwent surgery at Leeds Cancer Hospital to remove the mole and lymph nodes from under his arm.

John still attends hospital for three-monthly check-ups and hopes to move to six monthly visits after his next appointment.

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In the time since he first appeared on TV, John, who lives in Illingworth, has had two knee replacements, moved into a bungalow, welcomed a sixth grandchild - Charlie, and in February enjoyed a big surprise 70th birthday party thrown by his family.

He also travelled, for the first time and on his own, to Melbourne, Australia, to spend three months visiting his older brother Roy and his family. But sadly, Roy, passed away just weeks after John returned home.

John and his family continue to be right behind Cancer Research UK’s ‘Right Now’ campaign and were delighted to reappear in the new version of the TV ad. He has been overwhelmed by response by friends and the public and wishes he could get £1 for every time someone says they have seen him on the telly!

John is now calling on other people in Halifax to get involved and support Cancer Research UK. Taking the lead are his two daughters, Paula and Michelle, and their daughters, Charlotte, Louise and Hannah, who are planning to take part in the Halifax Race for Life Pretty Muddy on Saturday 21 July.

Nicki Embleton, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Yorkshire, said: “Every day, around 80 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire.

“There are so many ways to show your support here in Halifax. From signing up to Race for Life Pretty Muddy, donating items to one of our shops or giving time to volunteer.

“Every action makes a difference and money raised helps to support Cancer Research UK’s vital work.”

Nicki Embleton, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Yorkshire, said: “We are so grateful to John for sharing these special moments with us in the TV ad and for the opportunity to catch up with him and see how well he is doing since we first saw him on screen.

“Every day, around 80 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire.* That’s why we’re working every day to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease. But we can’t do it alone. We hope our campaign will inspire people to take action, right now, and play their part in beating cancer.”

“There are so many ways to show your support here in Halifax. From signing up to Race for Life Pretty Muddy at Savile Park on Saturday 21 July, donating items to one of our shops or giving time to volunteer. Every action makes a difference and money raised helps to support Cancer Research UK’s vital work.”