Father to take on Race for Life eight years after being given 12 months to live

When Adrian Webb stands at the starting line of Race for Life later this month it will be a poignant moment.

Adrian is taking part in the Himley Hall Race for Life in Dudley
Adrian is taking part in the Himley Hall Race for Life in Dudley

Eight years ago the father-of-two was given 12 months to live after skin cancer spread to his lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, spine and bowels.

But thanks to trial drug treatment, he is well enough to take part in the Cancer Research UK fundraiser for the first time with the son and daughter he feared he would never see through adulthood.

Josh and Amelia Webb were just 17 and 19 when Adrian was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2012.

“When I was told the cancer had spread I didn’t know how to explain to my wife and children that I’d never see my daughter walk down the aisle,” said Adrian, who is due to be best man at his son Josh’s wedding next July.

“I turned to my consultant and said ‘you’re not going to leave me to die are you? Surely there’s some hope somewhere. He offered me a trial drug programme and I jumped at the chance.”

Adrian, who has just moved to Wombourne from Netherton, was first diagnosed after his wife Michele saw that a mole in the centre of his back had changed colour.

He was given surgery and radiotherapy but it was too late. By 2013 the cancer had spread all around his body.

“I thought that was it,” said Adrian, a manager at Headstock Distribution in Halesowen. “I cried like a baby but, in the end, I thought - this is my life, I’m going to live it.”

Within weeks, Adrian started the first of three trials, which involved a cancer growth blocker and two new immunotherapy treatments, designed to trick his immune system into fighting the cancer.

Adrian was told the best outcome he could hope for was that the treatments would buy him precious time with his family.

“I would have done anything to buy myself that extra time,” said Adrian. “But incredibly, four years after I was told my cancer couldn’t be cured, I found myself cancer free.

“The treatments have had side effects, for example I can no longer run due to early onset arthritis. But I remain forever grateful for the treatment that saved my life. That’s entirely down to people who generate the capital to fund cutting edge research."

Miracle cancer survivor Adrian Webb, from Netherton, is pictured with wife Michele and daughter Amelia

Last year Adrian was among a total of 61 individuals and groups from all across the UK recognised by Cancer Research UK's Flame of Hope awards, which acknowledge remarkable efforts in fundraising and volunteering made by people from all walks of life.

Since his diagnosis, he has shared his powerful story in newspapers, online, on TV and at charity events to raise awareness.

Adrian was presented with the ‘Ambassador of the Year’ award, which recognises those volunteers who use their passion and enthusiasm to inspire others.

Now he is getting ready to join Michele, Josh and Amelia at the Himley Hall Race for Life in Dudley on Sunday, September 26.

And this year’s event will extra special because Adrian’s voice will be played out in a broadcast to thousands of participants at scores of events across the Midlands in September and October.

“Thanks to people taking part in events like Race for Life, I got to see my daughter graduate, I will be my son’s best man and I will, one day, walk my daughter down the aisle.”

Adrian with his son Josh

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, which has been in partnership with Tesco for 20 years, is an inspiring series of 3K, 5K, 10K, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

The much-loved events were cancelled last year to protect the country’s health during the Covid-19 pandemic but will return to the Midlands this autumn with socially distanced measures in place to keep participants safe.

Paula Young, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the West Midlands, says: “We’re so grateful to Adrian and his family for their continued support.

“It was sad to see all 400 mass participation Race for Life events across the UK cancelled in 2020 but, this last year proves, more than any other, the value of investing in science and medical research and what can be achieved by working together.

Miracle cancer survivor Adrian Webb, from Netherton, is pictured with wife Michele and daughter Amelia, prior to him starting the Race for Life in West Park, Wolverhampton on Fathers Day.

“Just as science is our route out of the pandemic, Adrian’s story shows that science is our route to beating cancer. Race for Life offers the perfect opportunity for people to run, walk or jog and raise money for life-saving research.

"Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK’s work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has been at the heart of the progress that has seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years."

Race for Life events are being held at Walsall Aboretum tomorrow (Sunday), Telford Town Park on Sunday, September 12, Himley Hall, Dudley on Sunday, September 26, The Quarry, Shrewsbury on Sunday, September 26, Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield on Sunday, October 3, West Park, Wolverhampton on Sunday, October 10, Sandwell Valley Country Park on Saturday, October 16, and Weston Park Pretty Muddy on Saturday, October 30.

People can visit raceforlife.org to enter or call 0300 123 0770.

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