Cancer survivor's amazing challenge

IPSWICH: Joe Alexander knows he is a very lucky man.

IPSWICH: Joe Alexander knows he is a very lucky man.

Nine years ago at the age of 25, while surrounded by his family in a hospital bed in Australia, he was told by a doctor that he had just weeks to live.

A tumour the size of a milk carton was found in his chest, which turned out to be an extremely rare form of testicular cancer. It was literally squeezing the life out of him.

He was told he had just weeks to live but after seeing another specialist, he was told there was a chance he could be saved and was flown back to London's Royal Marsden Hospital for treatment.

And in 2005, Mr Alexander, from Ipswich, was told that he was clear of the cancer.

Next summer, on July 28, to mark ten years since he received news that his life could be over in a matter of weeks, he will cycle to the Eiffel Tower in Paris with nine of his friends to raise money for the hospital which saved his life.

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The 34-year-old said: “I do feel lucky, completely lucky. It was an experience and a half and it does make you appreciate life and what you have got. I got married three years back and I love my wife to bits. I enjoy life to the full.”

Mr Alexander and Becky, then his girlfriend, left Ipswich for Australia in May 2000. But suddenly on July 29 he collapsed with pain and breathing difficulties. What at first was suspected to be a heart attack turned out to be a tumour pressing on his heart and doctors told him he had just weeks to live.

He said: “I sat there and just thought 'oh well, game over'.

“The funeral was planned. I wanted Oasis' Champagne Supernova and all my friends were told.”

Although the cancer is now clear, Mr Alexander will have to have yearly checkups but after getting married three years ago to Becky, he is now living life to the full and runs a successful Ipswich business with his dad.

He said: “Life is fantastic now. I feel really fit and healthy and I am throwing myself into sports and exercise. The cancer has given me the inspiration to stay fit.”

Now he hopes to raise �10,000 for the hospital which helped rid him of the disease by doing the cycle ride.

He said: “I know that I was lucky to get over it but there are people out there who are not. It is also for the people who do not make it.”

n. To sponsor Mr Alexander visit or call 01473 740325.

n. Do you have an inspiring story you want to tell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email