A man with a rare lung cancer who has survived thanks to taking a daily pill is completing a charity walk to say thank you to The Christie, the specialist cancer hospital where he was treated.

Duncan Edmonstone, aged 51, from Sandbach, was diagnosed in 2019 with lung cancer that had unfortunately spread to his brain – resulting in him needing major brain surgery.

Biopsy results showed the specific type of cancer Duncan had – ALK positive which counts for less than 5% of all lung cancers. But it also confirmed fortunately that he could be treated by taking a daily pill, instead of undergoing gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The treatment has proved successful for Duncan and he is currently disease free and getting life back on track, returning to work as a computer consultant. As a thank you for his treatment, Duncan, along with his partner Kay, will be taking part in this year’s Walk of Hope to raise money for The Christie.

Duncan said: “Since 2019, it has been an incredibly tough time, being diagnosed with cancer and then going through brain surgery. I was told my cancer was a genetic mutation that was just bad luck.
“At one point, I seriously thought I’d be dead within a couple of years, but fortunately my treatment of taking a pill a day has been hugely successful and I’m now perfectly healthy. The last 12 months have been horrendous, but I’m delighted to be taking part in the Walk of Hope this year to mark my return to health. It is my chance to say thank you to everyone at The Christie who has contributed to me getting my life back.”

The Walk of Hope is a 10km sponsored walk through the grounds of Tatton Park, organised on an annual basis to celebrate and honour the care and treatment provided at The Christie. This year, all money raised will go towards The Christie’s new cancer treatment centre, currently being built in Macclesfield.

The Christie at Macclesfield will transform cancer care in Cheshire, the High Peak area of Derbyshire and parts of North Staffordshire, providing care closer to home for more than 1,500 existing Christie patients a year.

It will bring together essential cancer services into one purpose-built centre delivering local specialist access to radiotherapy, chemotherapy, holistic support and information services, outpatient care, palliative care and a wider range of clinical trials. Around 40,000 appointments per year will take place at the new centre.

Duncan said: “Amazingly, thanks to my treatment, I am enjoying life again, but there is always the risk it will return and if it does, then I would probably need radiotherapy.
“Living in Sandbach, I know this new centre will provide a lifeline to so many as I know how difficult it can be to get to The Christie on a daily basis. A base in Macclesfield will make it so much easier, so patients can focus on their treatment without the added worry of long journeys. I’m delighted the Walk of Hope is supporting the Macclesfield appeal and am really looking forward to taking part.”

The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families. 

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.