Dan, 41 from Plymouth, has shared his incredible story of strength and determination. It’s truly inspiring to know what can be achieved when you have the positive outlook on life that Dan has.
“I got my cancer diagnosis and went through the first lot of treatment, but then ended up having to have a massive operation to have my right kidney removed.
“I had the operation in January last year and then spent three months in recovery, staying with my foster parents before coming back to Plymouth. All together it must have been five or six months that I really wasn’t getting out. To start with I couldn’t even walk 100 meters. I had to regain not only my physical fitness but my mental health too. Spending that much time at home without making new friends was affecting my mood and I knew I needed to try and do something about it.
“I really was getting quite depressed and struggling mentally. When you spend that much time inside you almost become scared of going out again.
“My Key Worker helped me through other issues then introduced me to Chris from Positive People. That’s basically where it started really – I was helped to try and get out of the house and to develop skills to start another career when I recover.
“I attended a few workshops through Chris and after that she introduced me to the Street Factory (dance). I spent a lot of time with Toby there which really helped me psychologically and got me out of the house at the same time.
“There were so many different workshops available, learning things like how to make music digitally. To be quite honest I didn’t know what to expect there, but I met all sorts of new people who all had a different story to tell. What I liked the most is that everybody there was trying to make a difference in their own lives. I surprised myself in the end at how much I enjoyed it. I got to do things I would’ve never thought about doing before!
“Pete, my Change Coach also then helped me to get on an excavator course. I ended up doing two courses and got my excavator license. Not only that, but from Toby’s Street Factory, I got introduced to Plymouth Sports Charity where I did an NVQ level two in fitness instructing.
“Unfortunately, on my last scan they found a few spots of cancer in each lung and so I’ve got to undergo radiotherapy on that, which may set back my plans. I was hoping to get back into work for the summer.
“I want to drive heavy machinery, I want to use that license because it’s a better paid job than I would have been able to do before receiving the training.
It also means I can work without overdoing it – due to my sickness I’m not as strong as I used to be. So, using a machine rather than using my own body seems to make sense to me. And I really do love it. You know it’s like a big boy toy!
“I’ve learned quite a bit over the last 18 months. You just learn to be positive. I survived a nine-centimetre tumour on my kidney, so for me this is minor really. It’s like the last little remnants being mopped up, that’s how I’m going to look at it anyway!
“Positive People stopped me going stir crazy, and I now feel like I’ve got a second chance to start a new career”.