WORKING out on a regular basis, dad Mark Potter was in the best shape of his life.
The 47-year-old was squatting 200kg and running six kilometres in around 30 minutes.
But in November 2021, as he was almost in fighting shape, Mark was diagnosed with stage four cancer of the stomach and bone.
Stomach cancer is fairly uncommon in the UK and it’s a cancer that can be found anywhere in the stomach.
Bone cancer is also rare and around 550 new cases of the illness are diagnosed each year.
The NHS can now only offer the family palliative care and Mark’s wife Hannah, 45, along with their family and friends, is now trying to raise £22,000 in a bid to save his life.
Mark said his lifestyle changed when he started to experience numbness in his calves, which he initially thought was the result of a pinched nerve due to his active lifestyle.
The numbness continued to spread and Mark visited his GP, who told him he may only have another 18 months to live.
Hannah said: “When they told us the diagnosis, I had a complete meltdown.
“He has tumours in his stomach that spread to his spine, which has caused the numbness.
“When they told us, you obviously hope for the best so I thought it might have been stage two.”
Hannah said that despite the diagnosis, the family are staying positive in the hope they can beat the illness.
Before becoming ill, Mark was working as a personal trainer and says he was ‘almost in fighting shape’.
Mark said: “I used to box, I has 26 professional fights and I won 21 of them in my day.
“I also did MMA fighting and kick-boxing.
“In November I was almost in fighting shape, I could run six kilometres in 30 minutes.
“I was squatting 200 kilos for six reps regularly, and deadlifting 200 for 10 reps.”
What are the symptoms of stomach and bone cancer you need to know
Mark was diagnosed with both stomach cancer and cancer of the bone.
Here are the symptoms you need to look out for when it comes to each condition.
- persistent indigestion and heartburn
- trapped wind and frequent burping
- feeling very full or bloated after meals
- persistent stomach pain
Symptoms of bone cancer:
- persistent bone pain that gets worse over time and continues into the night
- swelling and redness (inflammation) over a bone, which can make movement difficult if the affected bone is near a joint
- a noticeable lump over a bone
- a weak bone that breaks (fractures) more easily than normal
- problems moving around – for example, walking with a limp
Both Hannah and Mark are personal trainers so understand how it feels when you slightly overdo it with your workouts.
Hannah said: “When he said his calf was feeling really weird, I thought it must be a pinched nerve or something.
“He was regularly doing squats and deadlifts, so we just assumed it was down to that.”
At present, Mark is receiving chemotherapy, which he is supplementing with alternative treatments.
Hannah said he has cut animal proteins out of his diet and that Mark is also not eating any sugar.
She added: “He said to me recently he was feeling the best he had done in months with the new diet.”
In order to explore other treatment options, the family are now raising money.
So far they have managed to raise over £19,000.
“Loads of people have come together to support us, and we’ve raised over £17,000 already.
“It’s just been amazing.”
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