Saeed celebrates being cancer free by running The Great Manchester Run

Press release posted 07 May 2015

Saeed Shakibai from Wilmslow is running The Morrison's Great Manchester Run to thank The Christie for saving his life.

Saeed, 64, was referred to The Christie after scans revealed he had a tumour in his rectum that had been growing for over five years. The tumour was so large, and wrapped around so much of Saeed's internal systems he had to undertake a very intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy. A five week programme that left him feeling incredibly low.

Saeed said: "The radiotherapy left my inside and outsides completely raw. It burnt through my skin to treat my cancer but my healthy tissue was ravaged. I was in absolute agony. Three days before the treatment was due to end I told them I couldn't do it anymore, I said I'd had enough. All the staff at The Christie strongly suggested that I finish the treatment which I did.

From the moment you get diagnosed with cancer to the moment they tell you you're in remission it's like a trip, and me, the most positive guy ever, gave up, completely. It was one of the worst moments of my life. I asked my girlfriend if there was anything she could give me so I could end it. She said yes, she'd give me a slap round the face. So I persevered, and very slowly, I came through it, I eventually healed.

Following Saeed's intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy the tumour had shrunk enough to be removed. He said: "It certainly wasn't key hole surgery, my surgeons opened me up from top to bottom. It was a seven and a half hour operation and the cut was ten inches long. My consultant held my liver in her hand to check with her own eyes that the cancer hadn't spread there.

"I was in hospital for two weeks after the operation. I felt awful. I'd been cut on the inside and the out, and I had a colostomy bag. The one thing I'd insisted all along that I didn't want. I'm a very active person and I couldn't imagine dancing, swimming, or playing golf with a colostomy bag, but there was nothing anyone could do. The size of my tumour along with the aggressive treatment I'd had, left me with only one and a half inches of back passage."

However, Saeed has refused to let cancer, or a colostomy bag, slow him down. Not only does he still play squash and golf, he has learnt to sail a boat, ride a horse and successfully passed a motor bike test. And once a year, he does the Morrisson's Great Manchester Run to raise funds for The Christie.

Saeed said: "This is my fourth time doing the Great Manchester Run. I wasn't ready to do it in 2011, it was just a couple of months after my operation. The first time I ran was in 2012, although I was still feeling the after effects of the radiotherapy so I ran some of the race and walked the rest. I fundraised on behalf of The Christie. Every year I've done the race I've fundraised on behalf of The Christie.

This year I'm running as part of Team Christie, it allows me to still stay in contact with everyone here. The Christie saved my life - it's as simple as that. I can't just say goodbye to it, I want to share the life I have left with the people who gave it to me, and all I can do is give back to the charity so they can continue to help people who will go through what I've been through.

Thanks to The Christie, Saeed now celebrates two birthdays every year, his true birthday and the day he found out he was cancer free. Saeed said: "I celebrate them both, they are both as important as each other. Everyone at The Christie is my friend, they saved my life and I love them for that."

Cherry Steele, sporting events officer at The Christie charity said: "We're thrilled Saeed has chosen to run for The Christie and support our charity. He will join the 1,500 people of all different ages and abilities already running for us. It will be a wonderful day that raises a huge amount for cancer patients across the North West."

The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust through its fundraising activities, and delivers projects, equipment and improvements that are in line with the Trust's overall plans and strategy. The charity has over 30,000 supporters who raised a record breaking £14.8m last year.