Meet the grandad whose family are proud to claim is their medical ‘miracle man’.
Victor Simon, 79, has faced a series a battles against cancer after first being diagnosed with the disease more than two decades ago.
His latest, after being diagnosed with a tumour on the heart which doctors say is extremely rare, has been his toughest yet - but he is now back home in South Shore with his family, who have proudly proclaimed his determination to survive.
The dad of five and grandad of 15 has successfully fought off cancer in various parts of his body, including prostate and lung, since first being diagnosed with cancer of the kidney 21 years ago.
His battles have left him with a single lung, a single kidney and half an intestine but still he battles on – with the latest battle against the heart tumour typical of his indomitable attitude, say his family.
“We are so proud of dad – he really is our medical miracle,” said daughter Michaela.
“What he has been through over the years has been quite unbelievable but he has battled on.
“We are so grateful for the treatment he has received but he has shown over and over again how important it is to be positive.
“It is typical of him - he has always been a great example to us.”
Victor was working a supervisor at Cooksons Bakery when the initial cancer diagnosis came when he was in his late 50s.
After successfully battling that and the secondary tumours which followed in various parts of his body, he worked on into his mid-70s, only finally retiring when the supermarket in which he was last employed closed down.
“Dad had always had a great work ethic and so much strength and energy,” said Michaela, who has recently moved back into the family home at Kingsmede to help mum Goldie look after Victor.
“The battles he has had to face over the years have all been the results of secondary tumours following the initial kidney cancer diagnosis.
“This latest battle against the tumour on the heart was the toughest of them all - we were told it is very rare indeed.
“But with the help of the doctors for which we are so grateful, dad has come through this to and we are so very proud of him.”
Dr Michael Porter, a lecturer in medical sciences at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “Victor is clearly a real fighter and his family should be very proud.
“He is also evidence of the advances being made in our understanding and ability to successfully treat cancers.
“Cancers which would have been fatal 21 years ago are now survivable and the treatments less intense.
“Cancers of the heart are indeed extremely rare, however, secondary tumours appearing in the heart, while still rare are far more common.
“Primary tumours in the heart actually only account for less than on per cent of all tumours found in the heart.
“The secondary tumours which do appear usually start as melanomas or in the kidney, lung and breast.
“It is yet more evidence of the amazing advances in our ability to detect cancers, that this secondary tumour has been found.
“Tests for secondary tumours, which would have identified the mass on his heart, would normally be done either by a CT (computerised tomography) scan or increasingly through the use of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
“This level of diagnosis was not possible in the past, therefore, the tumours were normally only found during post-mortem.”