A DROITWICH man who has terminal cancer is organising his second walking football tournament in the town after the success of last year’s and to celebrate still being here.
Mike Hull set up Droitwich Against Melanoma and put together the DAM Trophy which raised £6,000 for Melanoma UK and the Brain and Spine Foundation.
This year’s event will take place at Droitwich Leisure Centre on May 31.
It all started for Mike in 2013 when his wife Carol saw a mole on his back which was bleeding.
Six months later the fifth GP did not like the look of it and the next day Mike had it removed.
He had to go back and have more taken away and it was then he was diagnosed with skin cancer (melanoma).
For the next two-and-a-half years he had three-monthly visits to the dermatologist for external checks with no problems arising.
But in July 2016 he had a cough so Carol told him to go to the GP for checks.
Two months later Mike was told there were spots on his left lung and the second MRI confirmed the melanoma had spread to his lungs.
On December 23, 2016, he had an operation to remove the lower left part of his lung and thought he was then cancer free.
But PET scan results in March 2017 showed he now had a tumour on his spine, five in his liver – all melanoma.
The oncologist was against him being operated on so instead he was given immunotherapy.
He was put on a drug called Pembrolizumab but it stopped working in June 2018, leaving him just one drug left to try.
In the July he was given the prognosis that he only had between six to 12 months left to live.
He opted to go to be transferred to Churchill in Oxford, a specialised melanoma hospital where he and Carol met Dr Miranda Payne.
She said he could start a course of Ipilimumab in August but, because of the treatment’s toxicity, patients are only allowed four doses and Mike’s finished in the October.
In November he had a scan and an appointment with Dr Payne, knowing the treatment only had a 15 per cent chance of working.
But Dr Payne told Carol, their daughter Kate and Mike the scan was now showing just one tumour.
Mike would never be cancer free and she was not sure when the tumours would return but he had ‘hope and time’ which was all he and his family could ask for.
He had no treatment from November 2018 and the three monthly scans showed no signs of growth but then in July last year the consultant revealed the tumour was showing signs of growth.
Mike said: “He told me I had reached the end of the road and had always known I would reach this point.
“He said I should go home and ‘get my affairs in order’.”
The family was heartbroken and Carol posted details of their ordeal on Facebook.
Shortly afterwards they received a message from Gillian Nuttall, the CEO of Melanoma UK who offered to help.
A meeting for Mike was set up with Prof James Larkin at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Chelsea, London.
“We met Professor Larkin and his team and they could not believe how well I was, considering the tumours I had.
“The whole team had a very positive attitude and they gave us some hope with discussions about clinical trials.”
They put Mike on a ‘clinical trial’ of a new drug in November 2019.
He travels to London every two weeks, receiving treatment every four.
“Since being on this trial the staff and support at the Royal Marsden has been second to none.
“I am still on this trial, under the care of the Royal Marsden and my outlook is continuing to look positive.”
His last scan in January showed after two treatments four of the tumours were now dormant and the main one had shrank from 13cm to 7cm.
He will now continue treatment every four weeks for the next two years, as long as he has no adverse reactions.
“We will continue to fight – I know from before with melanoma things can change rapidly, so for now Carol and I are living our best life with our family and friends.
“We are looking forward to this year’s DAM Trophy Tournament where we are aiming to smash last year’s £6,000 total so we can support Gillian at Melanoma UK like she has supported us in our time of need!”
Mike thanked everyone for their support and has urged teams to polish their boots ready for this year’s DAM Trophy.
For more on the tournament and how to sign up for it, call Mike on 07594 339669 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org