Cancer survivor tells of battle with illness

Action Cancer Ambassador Andrew Gamble.
Action Cancer Ambassador Andrew Gamble.

A young Lurgan cancer survivor whose battle with the illness brought on a condition most commonly associated with a very different battlefield is urging local people to support Action Cancer.

The charity is setting up a fundraising group in the town, and needs dedicated volunteers to help.

Andrew Gamble during his cancer treatment as a child.

Andrew Gamble during his cancer treatment as a child.

The group is ideal for anyone in Lurgan and the surrounding area who would be able to spare a few hours each month to help organise a number of annual fundraising events and at the same raise awareness of Action Cancer within the local community.

Backing this initiative is 21-year-old Lurgan man, Andrew Gamble, who, as a result of his own life-changing experience with Action Cancer, is now an Ambassador for the charity.

Andrew said: “I was diagnosed with Leukaemia when I was two-and-a-half years old and received treatment for six years.

“However, it wasn’t until I was 16 that I realised the enormity of what had happened to me. School life became impossible and panic attacks meant that I was confined to the house.

“I worried every day that I would become ill again, knowing that many of my friends had not survived this horrible disease even though they had fought it as hard as I had. Life really didn’t seem fair and I couldn’t understand why. I just couldn’t see a future.”

Suspecting that Andrew was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) his mum reached out to Action Cancer and in particular the counselling service, for help.

Here he discovered an instant connection with the counsellor and found himself in an environment where he could talk openly about what was going on in his head.

He said: “All the questions, all the worries and many things that people may think trivial became the causes of my anxiety and depression.

“This allowed me to move forward, return to education and start setting goals for my future. Without Action cancer I’m not sure where I’d be right now.”

Andrew continued: “To have an Action Cancer Community Group start up in my home town is very important to me and I know the people of Lurgan will be extremely supportive of this initiative.

“It is so gratifying to know that my local community will be helping to fundraise for Action Cancer and therefore ensure that other people like me, from this the town, will be able to get the support they need when they need it most.”

All of Action Cancer’s services are free to the user but the charity receives no external funding and exists solely through public fundraising. Furthermore, all monies raised for the charity remains within Northern Ireland and is used to help people here who are affected by cancer. As a result fundraising by Community Groups through volunteering their time, is the life blood of the charity.

Action Cancer will be hosting an information evening at the Jethro Centre, Flush Place on March 19. This will be an opportunity for those people who would like to join the group to find out a bit more about what is involved and how to sign up to become a member.

If you wish to attend the information evening or if you would like to join the new Lurgan Action Cancer Community Group please call Mark Irwin-Watson on 028 9080 3379 or email mirwin-watson@actioncancer.org