Charity ‘payback’ for fireman who beat cancer

Gary Parkinson (centre) and Darren Gregson (top right) with members of Blue Watch at Blackpool fire station during Movember.

Gary Parkinson (centre) and Darren Gregson (top right) with members of Blue Watch at Blackpool fire station during Movember.

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A FIREFIGHTER who beat testicular cancer united with his colleagues to raise cash for Movember.

Gary Parkinson, of Neville Avenue, Anchorsholme, describes himself as “a very lucky man”after overcoming the killer disease.

And this year, the 52-year-old joined fellow officers to raise money for the charity event, which aims to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer and cash to help find a cure.

Today he spoke about his successful fight against the condition.

He told The Gazette: “I’ve been a very lucky man.

“I couldn’t believe it when it happened and it came from nowhere.

“My GP referred me quite quickly and they found it within a week.

“I hadn’t a clue what was going on and then they found a second tumour developing on my lungs.

“I had to have devastating courses of chemotherapy which nearly killed me in itself, it turns your whole world around.”

Gary overcame his illness after a year of treatment in 1992 and says taking part in Movember with his fellow fireman has been an enjoyable experience.

But he says the main thing to come out of it was that the campaign helps raise awareness about the diseases which will hopefully mean more men get checked.

He added: “As a watch we all had a go at it, some better than others.

“Most have shaved theirs off but I’ve kept mine on.”

This year the Movember campaign has been officially supported by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

Blue Watch crew manager Darren Gregson, 40, of Pinewood Avenue, Bispham, was one of the members of the team who took up the hairy challenge.

He said: “We thought it quite apt we get involved.

“But mine came through really thin. It was ginger, scratty and really horrible.

“There was a lot of fun and a lot of mickey taking.

“Gary’s kept his but everyone else couldn’t wait to get of them to be honest.

“He’s quite pleased something’s being done that’s focused on men’s health.”

But Darren says it was touch and go as to whether the event would go ahead due to the fire service’s strict rules on facial hair.

He said: “Believe it or not we’ve got service orders here.

“There’s a section on facial hair and luckily moustaches are acceptable, but we can’t have beards or sideburns because of our breathing apparatus.”