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Chris Lewis

Most of us have ups and downs in our life, but my own in recent times, feel somewhat extreme! In the last 10 years I have gone from being one of the best business people in the clothing business, to nearly dying, and struggling for many years to hang onto my life. Now I am one of the most influential cancer patients in the world, speaking and writing internationally about my experiences.

I was a self-employed business consultant with all in the world looking rosy, until in 2007 when I was diagnosed with stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma, an incurable blood cancer. My prognosis was poor, being given 6 months to live. Aggressive chemotherapy was followed by a stem-cell transplant from an unrelated donor, organised by the Anthony Nolan charity.

For a man aged 51 this was a lot of treatment and there were tough times. My immune system was weak and I was constantly being brought down with viruses and infections. My own body started to reject the cells that were trying to save me (GVHD) and I nearly died on several occasions as my body started an ‘internal civil war.’

Despite such a poor prognosis and very irregular health, the years went by. I can’t say I saw that period as living, more just staying alive. But my mind was full of new ideas! I knew that I was never going to be fit enough to return to my old work, but needed something to keep my mind active.

My own experience was showing me, how poor the cancer support system in this country really is, and I wanted to do something about that. So I did some charity volunteering to find out more. The corporate side of things was not for me, so I decided to work on my own.

Firstly doing some guest speaker slots, then as things got busier my friends pointed me towards creating a website and learning about social-media. My work won some awards and I was featured on the TV, and things took off from there.

The invitations to speak started to flow, and after time I was speaking in Parliament and national health conferences about cancer support issues. All this is done whilst still being a patient.
I have done many interviews and videos and now I speak at international conferences, where the audiences range from patients to very senior Healthcare Professionals.

My website is now an official resource for many organisations across the world, and my very rare case is seen as a beacon to other patients. In between my practical work I have been invited to write a book about my experiences.

After 10 years I am still alive and meeting incredible people. I have started my own unique charity (www.yoursimpal.com) being the only one of its type in the world. We give phones and sim cards, free of charge to anyone in the U.K affected by cancer.

By looking at how my own life has altered so dramatically, you can understand that when people say that their cancer diagnosis was life changing, they are not exaggerating!

If you would like to read more about my story you can visit (www.chris-cancercommunity.com)