A Ballymoney man who survived stage four testicular cancer, and who has already unexpectedly had two children following cancer treatment, is looking forward to the birth of his fifth child in May.
Rob Humphreys, 37 is also running his first marathon this year.
Back in 2013, following a diagnosis of stage 4 testicular cancer which had spread to his stomach, chest and lungs, he was advised that cancer treatment may mean that he and his wife Danielle may not be able to have any more children naturally.
Rob, who is now celebrating five years clear of cancer, is sharing his story in support of Cancer Research UK’s brand campaign ‘Right Now’.
He said: “December marked five years from when I was told my body was cancer free and it was great to hear the consultant say that everything is looking healthy.
“Perhaps the most unexpected result has been fathering two sons, Jacob who is now three and two-year-old Carter, after surviving testicular cancer, without using sperm I’d banked before my chemotherapy, as we had been advised it may not be possible for us to have more children naturally.”
Now Jacob and Carter along with big brothers Alfie, 9, and eight-year-old Reuben, 8, are looking forward to meeting their new baby brother or sister this year.
Rob said: “The boys say they’d love a brother so they can have a five-a-side but we’ll be delighted whether it’s a boy or a girl.
“Between the new baby and running Belfast City Marathon for the first time, 2019 is set to be an exciting and action-packed year and I’m so grateful to be in great health to enjoy it all because I know that for some people the reality is much less positive.”
For Rob, who grew up in Portstewart and works for TK Maxx, the true impact of the disease hit home which he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in June 2013.
He said: “Although I considered myself an exceptionally healthy person I hadn’t been well for a few weeks and had a dull ache in my testicle right through into my stomach. When the doctor examined me he said he felt several lumps and described it as “pretty messy in there”.
“After an ultrasound on my testicles I was admitted to hospital for a right orchidectomy (testicle removal) and a full CT body scan. After they completed a biopsy the consultant sat myself and my wife Danielle down and told us I had cancer. I think I had mentally prepared myself for the news but I just felt numb.
“I have never been as scared in my whole life as when I was admitted to Belfast City Hospital on August 12, 2013, to start my first chemotherapy cycle but the nurses there are the nicest people I think I have ever met. They made me feel so relaxed and comfortable with the whole process and we even had a laugh during it.
“But during the second week of my first treatment I took a severe reaction to one of the drugs which landed me back in hospital in isolation as my immune system was so poor.
“Throughout the nine weeks of chemotherapy I had plenty of ups and downs, but thankfully more good days than bad and my family were an amazing support. There were a few guys, including one who was only 17 who were also being treated, and I was devastated that another I got to know didn’t survive cancer.”
A few months after his chemotherapy ended, tests showed that Rob had responded well and since then he’s had check-ups twice a year with no setbacks.
Rob is a keen fundraiser for Cancer Research UK and has raised around £7,000 for the charity through various sporting challenges since his cancer diagnosis – money which goes to fund lifesaving research.
To help support life-saving research, visit cruk.org