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Derbyshire man twice hit by cancer fights on after wife’s death from her third breast cancer bout

A Derbyshire man has explained how he has been diagnosed with a second form of cancer, just years after defeating skin cancer and losing his wife to her third bout of breast cancer.

Steve Drake, 66, from Belper, was first diagnosed with skin cancer in his 40s, after a doctor told him to get a lump on his arm looked at.

Steve, who described the lump as being like dried blood, did not think it would be anything serious.

READ MORE: Get the latest Belper stories from Derbyshire Live

Steve said: “I had skin cancer going back many, many years, and was diagnosed with a melanoma type so I was very lucky.

“I had a brown patch on my arm, it must have been there for absolutely years.

“I went to the GP for some holiday jabs and they asked me what it was when I lifted my arm up, and I said I had no idea.

“They did a biopsy just to be sure, and it came back as a melanoma.

“I was straight into hospital, they cut it out, and with five years of treatment I was okay.”

Steve’s wife Susan also battled through a cancer diagnosis at the same time.

She had battled breast cancer three times until she sadly died in March 2019, aged 66.

Steve added: “My wife has passed away, she had breast cancer three times before it got her, it was obviously determined to get her.

“While she was ill I developed prostate cancer, so because my wife was ill and at the hospital, I had the prostate taken straight out.

Susan passed away in 2019 after suffering from breast cancer three times.
Susan died in 2019 after suffering from breast cancer three times.

“They managed to catch it but again there are no guarantees.

“Obviously I have to have treatment and blood tests, and I’ll always be under observation, but I’m okay at the moment.

“Because my wife’s came back three times, you just never know.”

Steve also added that losing his wife, who he was married to for 46 years, was incredibly hard for him.

He explained that along with regularly seeing mental health teams, he is still grieving the loss of his wife.

“It’s a good job we did what we did in our 40s and 50s because all I’m doing now is grieving the loss of my wife and going to support groups.

“It’s tough, it really is tough, but the fundraising is carrying me along.

“I was told how long she’d got and then she was fast-tracked into the nursing home when she had about a month to live.

“Up until about two weeks before you wouldn’t have thought there was anything wrong with her.

“It’s been two and a half years, and I still can’t get over it. She’s gone now, you lose interest and my world is over, but you carry on.”

Now, Steve is preparing for a major fundraising event to take place in April.

He has organised an auction to take place, with lots including a holiday to Spain, West End theatre tickets, and a signed Derby County football.

Television auctioneer James Lewis has also been invited to attend, and Steve is hoping to raise cash for Cancer Research UK.

The event will take place in Pilsley Close, Belper, with stalls and marquees being set up in the street.

He added: “We’ve managed to already raise £6,500 which is amazing, but with Cancer Research’s backing you never know how it could go.

“The fundraising event is currently set for April 30, the only thing we’re worried about is if it rains.

“We’re going to have a large marquee in the garden, VIPs, an auction and a raffle.

“We’ve still got so much work to do but it’s going well.”

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