Chichester chef raising awareness after overcoming cancer — ‘I didn’t think I had long to live’
A dad-of-five from Bognor Regis has spoken of the ‘shock’ he felt after being diagnosed with bladder cancer last year.
Richard Johnson, 51, who is set to have his head shaved to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, said he didn’t think he would live long after the diagnosis in March 2018.
He said: “It wasn’t a very good year last year. It was a worry. I’ve got a family with a wife and five kids so it was a nightmare.
“It affected me very much. At the time, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t do anything, [so] you worry about money.
“I’m only 51 which is a young age. You are normally quite old if you get stage two bladder cancer. It was a big shock.”
Richard, a chef at Chichester catering company, The Hungry Guest, is also raising money in memory of his brother, Clive, who died from stomach cancer on October 23, 1984. Richard’s headshave will take place exactly 35 years to the day since Clive’s death.
He added: “My brother died when he was 26. I was 16 so that was a shock.
“When my brother was diagnosed, he only lived for about three weeks. It was so quick. At the time he was diagnosed, it was too late.
“If they hadn’t found mine when they did, it would have been too late. Once it goes past your wall, it goes to the other organs. When you’re in the hospital, you wonder how long you have got [left].
"I’ve got the all clear and my next check up is in January. I’ve got check ups every year for ten years after that.”
Richard said that the support of Macmillan is what got him through after his diagnosis.
“A lot of people go through this horrible disease,” he said,
“All I had was blood in my urine one time and that was it. I went for a check up and they found a tumour on my bladder wall. That was a really big shock.
“About a week before I was diagnosed, I had done a fun run at Hotham Park. They said that might have been the reason why it showed up.
“I didn’t get a lot of information from the hospital. The most help I got was from Macmillan. They were marvellous.
“They would tell me not to worry, gave me a load of support. I was thinking all sorts of things and they helped me through it. I didn’t think I had long to live.
“I want other people, who get any symptoms, to get themselves checked out.”