A Halifax man with terminal cancer says he will not let his diagnosis rule the rest of his life.
Graham Rusher, 60, from Skircoat, discovered he has prostate cancer on May 22 and started chemotherapy treatment on July 3.
He was told he had a year to live, but has reacted to the news with a determination to spend the time he has left as productively as possible.
In this spirit, he has already raised £160 for Macmillan Cancer Support with a sponsored Up All Night event, where he stayed awake throughout the night at his neighbour’s house, and posted a photo on social media every hour to prove he was still awake.
“I can’t do a sponsored walk at the moment because of the diagnosis so I thought this would be the next best thing,” said Graham. “I just want to do what I can.
“Macmillan are incredible. They have such a range of facilities they offer people, from help with finances to legal services.
“They’ll be helping me out over the next 11 months.
“This is the first thing I’ve done for them but hopefully I will be able to do more, whether it’s a charity walk or something else.”
Graham admits his diagnosis came out of the blue.
“It was certainly a bit of a shock to the system,” he said. “What started from one little test because my prostate was a little too big turned into scans, biopsy’s and a diagnosis that it was terminal cancer.
“On the test I took, if you have a score of five then they look into it further. I had a score of 370.
“My treatment is purely palliative, just to ease the pain.
“It is what it is as they say on Love Island! I just want to do what I can in the time I have left.
“There’s nothing you can do about it. Everybody knows that life is finite.
“I’ve donated my body to Leeds University so hopefully some good can come out of that.
“I’m not upset. It gives me chance to get things sorted.
“My friends have been more upset than me. I think it’s harder on them.
“Most people’s reaction has been “is there anything I can do to help?” but it’s not like when you have a broken leg and someone can do your shopping for you.
“There’s nothing anyone can do. The cancer will kill me, but a positive attitude about it helps make the time you have left more bearable and enjoyable.”
Graham works as a mental health first aider, delivering talks. He is still working on a part-time basis and is planning to work for as long as he can.
“In my talks now I chose to compare how people deal with cancer and mental health,” he said. “They’re both unseen and something that people don’t talk about.
“But if I speak up about talk about it, maybe other people will feel they can talk about it too.
“People are surprised that I can be so open about it, but if it helps someone else to talk about it then it’ll have been worth it.”
To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/last-chance-saloon.