A DETERMINED man from Reading will be taking on the London Marathon - with only one lung.

Tom Pearce, 46 from Hurst, is taking on the challenge of a lifetime on Sunday , April 26, to raise funds for Bowel Cancer UK.

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Tom was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer, which spread to his liver and lungs as he underwent five diagnoses over a number of years.

Tom said: "I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in December 2013.

"My feeling immediately on him saying the ‘C’ word was one of utter shock.

"I simply could not understand how someone who was otherwise fit and healthy, having just run a marathon, could have such a thing! I really struggled to take in the news with a million thoughts rushing round my head.

"I am 39 for goodness sake! I run marathons, I eat a healthy diet, I am not overweight, I don’t smoke, I am not diabetic, and there is no family history. I simply don’t “tick any of the boxes”, how can this be!"

Reading Chronicle:

Tom began treatment from January to February 2014 to shrink the tumour.

However, more bad news was to follow.

Tom said: "Just six weeks later, we found out that the cancer had spread to my liver.

"Soon after I met with my liver surgeon who booked me in for surgery without delay.

"This was then followed by six months of chemotherapy from August 2014.

"Running was a huge factor is helping me not only physically but also mentally getting through this period.

"I entered the 2014 Great South Run as another target to focus on during the chemotherapy, I spoke to my oncologist about running it beforehand, and was delighted when she gave me the green light.

"In December 2014, I had my second ‘all clear’ scan but I would still need to have chemotherapy until the following February.

"I celebrated by signed up for the Berlin Marathon and BUPA London 10k race in 2015. I was determined to reach my target of raising £20,000 for Bowel Cancer UK."

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A year later in 2016, Tom found out that the cancer was back, this time in his lungs.

He said: "It’s difficult to describe how I felt being told for the third time that I would go ‘under the knife’.

"I joked to myself that I feel I am running out of organs for it to go. I had two more surgeries - one on the left lung and one on the right.

"In February 2017, the cancer came back in my lungs.

"Looking at the positive, it was only in one of them and was a very small tumour, so it was keyhole surgery.

"A few months later in July, a PET scan revealed more growth in my lungs.

"I needed to have an intensive eight cycle radiotherapy treatment plan and I took part in a clinical study called SABR (stereotactic ablative radiotherapy), with the whole treatment lasting for about a month.

"In December 2018 the CT scan revealed that the cancer was back in my lungs for a fifth time.

"Whilst I wasn’t necessarily surprised that it had returned as I had been told this before on several occasions, I certainly was when I was told that it was incurable this time.

"My oncologist told me I would have anything up to five years.

"After the initial shock had sunk in, Catherine and I decided that it was time to start making some more lasting memories for the boys.

"We booked the holiday of a lifetime to Florida the following year!"

Reading Chronicle:

Then in 2019, Tom was in contact with Deborah James (@bowelbabe).

"She recommended I get in touch with a top lung surgeon at the Royal Brompton who had treated her in the past," he said.

"He specialises in very complicated cases, and in February 2019 he told me that he could operate.

"On May 1 2019, I went ‘under the knife’ once again and although he had hoped not to have to, in the end he took out my entire left lung.

"Seven months on, I have gone from being incurable to ‘all clear’, and now I have my eyes set firmly on completing the London Marathon for Bowel Cancer UK.

"I am really hoping that I can add to the £22,000 I have already raised and be one of what I assume are only a few to complete a marathon with one lung.

"It is those who live with someone who is going through cancer treatment that are so often forgot.

"I am so lucky to have Catherine, my wife, 'on my team' and my two children Jack and Ollie.

"They have been through the whole thing and stood by me every single step the way."

Donations can be made to here.