Press release posted 19 September 2023

Hayley Legge, a senior healthcare assistant at The Christie hospital, is taking part in a charity ‘Walk of Hope’ this Saturday 23 September 2023 in support of her partner Adam Myers. 

In August 2022, at just 29 years old, Adam was diagnosed with Succinate Dehydrogenase (SDH)-deficient renal cell carcinoma, an extremely rare kidney cancer that has only been reported by a small number of people around the whole world.

Adam, who works as a mechanic in Didsbury, had been experiencing back pain and noticed he was short of breath. He then felt a stabbing pain and decided he ought to go to hospital. Hayley went with him and, from her knowledge as a healthcare assistant, could see that his blood pressure levels were alarmingly high.

Picture caption (Left to Right): Hayley Legge, Adam Myers and Kayla Myers
Picture caption (Left to Right): Hayley Legge, Adam Myers and Kayla Myers

Adam’s breathing was so bad that he felt he was dying. Test results showed that both of his lungs were filled with blood clots and that he was close to death.

Adam was stabilised and put in a COVID ward, as initially the doctors thought this was the likely diagnosis. His lower back pain then returned and only morphine could take away the extreme pain. Once he was stable and could move, he had a full body scan which showed nerve damage caused by lesions on his spine and extensive disease in the lungs and bones, with the primary cancer located in the kidney.

Another scan revealed a lesion on his kidney which led to subsequent biopsies detecting an extremely rare form of cancer SDH-deficient renal cell carcinoma, which has only been formerly recorded by a limited number of people worldwide.

Once the cancer had been identified, Adam began immunotherapy treatment at The Christie, under Dr Manon Pillai and her team.

“This type of renal cancer accounts for between 0.05 and 2% of all renal cell carcinomas and Adam was the first patient with this diagnosis to be treated by The Christie Renal Team,” explained Dr Pillai. “Due to the rarity of this type of kidney cancer, it was challenging to decide on the best course of treatment to try and control his disease, particularly as we had limited information regarding his cancer at the start of his treatment journey.

“Adam commenced treatment with an immunotherapy drug and a targeted drug in September 2022 and responded to treatment very quickly. Within three weeks he was able to walk around the hospital independently. Adam’s treatment journey to date is very encouraging and will provide valuable insights on how to treat this rare cancer for others in the future.”

Adam has continued to improve, and his cancer is currently well controlled, over 12 months from his original diagnosis, as he explains:

“I take medication every day and immunotherapy treatment every 6 weeks which I will have to do for ever to make the cancer manageable. Initially I completely lost the ability to walk, but now I go swimming regularly and can walk for miles. From a fitness point of view, I’ve been putting weight back on and I’m back to where I was before the cancer was detected.”

With Hayley working at The Christie, she has been able to be by his side throughout his treatment and fully appreciates the care that has been given to him.

“The Christie has been amazing! I have good relations with the doctors here, who have all been so kind and helpful. Adam has learnt to walk again and is doing well now so I felt like I wanted to give a little back which is why I decided to take part in The Walk of Hope, along with Adam’s sister Kayla, who is also fundraising for The Christie Charity with me.”

The Walk of Hope is a fun and uplifting event with participants walking 10km through the beautiful grounds of Tatton Park in honour of the treatment and care provided by The Christie. Families, friends, and individuals all join together to walk together in memory, celebration and solidarity of current and past cancer patients. 

There are many activities taking place on the day including lantern decorating, face painting and live entertainment. This will be followed by a peaceful dove release to start the walk at 5pm on Saturday 23 September 2023. After taking in the stunning scenery of Tatton Park, the event will finish with a chorus of live music and fireworks. Dogs are also welcome.

Last updated: September 2023