“This place saved me!”
The words of cancer survivor Malcolm Howes, who has a huge thank you to pass onto the staff at Louth’s Meridian Leisure Centre.
A delighted Malcolm has discovered that he is now ‘cancer free’ after battling the disease on two separate occasions – the latest being in his larynx. That fight came after he had successfully beaten prostrate cancer, eight years ago.
It was following that first scare that Malcolm, now 73, decided it was time to shape up and grow stronger. As a former military man, he had been a senior ranked officer, which had been followed by 17 years in the prison service.
“The doctor made it clear that I really needed to do something with myself. To be perfectly honest, when I came here I was dying – but now I am not,” said Malcolm.
“And, in part, I have the team here to thank. They are always encouraging, and will come up and shake hands with you and ask how you are,” he said.
Malcolm – also a Type 1 diabetic – describes how, after winning the fight against three tumours in his prostrate, his voice started to change and that alerted him to a second major health problem.
“It was three years ago, I started losing my voice and it was a different tone,” he explained. After receiving the diagnosis he dreaded, he was referred to Castle Hill Hospital near Hull where the specialists were ‘brilliant’, he added.
“Now I have received the best news, the last test confirmed there was no cancer. It has been three years, and in all that time I have tried to keep the right mind set – my advice to others in a similar position would be to try and stay positive and don’t let things get to you, however hard it seems – the battle is done in your head,” said Malcolm.
Throughout his treatment, he continued to visit Meridian, whenever possible, and is now back to his regular twice a week with friend and fellow fitness enthusiast Michael Duggan. Michael, 71, remains a keen runner – but uses the gym as arthritis has created problems with his joints. The pair met at the centre and are now firm friends.
“Physical exercise makes you feel better and help with your mental wellbeing. It is great to have this centre as well – it caters for everyone,” added Malcolm.