FOR 18 months Lee Barker suffered pain which went undiagnosed.
Then he was told he had stomach cancer and his life changed forever.
Now the dad-to-be is seeking life-prolonging treatment in Mexico in the hope that he can enjoy more time with his fiance Kelly Abbey and his baby daughter, due in April.
The former Rastrick High School pupil, now aged 29, is due to marry Kelly at the end of this month and is excited about becoming a dad. But while he is flying out to Mexico later this week for treatment, he and Kelly still have to raise £15,000 to fund it and are holding a series of fundraising events.
Lee said: “The centre in Mexico is offering me a greater chance. It’s obviously not a miracle cure, but it can boost my immune system and give me a better chance of fighting the cancer.
“It’s really important for me to be given this chance. I was ill long before I got the diagnosis and that was a critical time.
“I think Kelly being a nurse pushed me on to get a diagnosis because when you’re sat with a doctor who is telling you there is nothing wrong you accept it even though you feel there is something wrong.”
Lee will celebrate his 30th birthday on Friday while in Mexico.
Kelly, a mental health nurse, will remain at home as she is heavily pregnant.
Kelly said: “Lee developed symptoms such as vomiting and abdominal pain and went to his GP and A&E, but it took a long time to get investigated and Lee was getting more and more unwell.
“Eventually we got the diagnosis in January 2008 – it was a massive shock. We obviously knew Lee was unwell and that it was something serious, but Lee was healthy and fit. He has so much energy, so it was a massive blow for it to be cancer.”
Lee underwent surgery to remove 90% of his stomach and needs regular chemotherapy and daily oxygen. He was in a period of remission, but by late last year he became unwell again and was told by doctors the cancer had spread to his bowel.
Kelly, 31, added: “It’s something that is with us everyday – it engulfs your life but everyday is so special.
“Lee is a very positive person and he’s also very stubborn so is determined to get through it.
“The doctors said his treatment was palliative and didn’t think he would have his birthday.
“Despite everything, we have so much to look forward to and that’s what we’re holding on to.
She added: “Lee has never been bitter or angry. It has changed our lives, but I don’t think many couples have the opportunity to appreciate each other as much as we do because we understand how precious time is.
“We’ve both had fantastic support from family, friends and my work has been wonderful and we thank them all for that.”
The couple researched treatments throughout the world which are not available on the NHS or privately in the UK and found the facility in Mexico.
At the centre – the ‘Oasis of Hope’ – Lee will get Integrative Regulatory Therapy with Vitamin C and stem cell treatment. While its not a miracle cure, results have shown that it can help to improve people’s chances of remission from 3% to 30%.
He is due to leave for the centre on Wednesday with his dad, but will return home in time for his wedding to Kelly on March 30. The couple are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of their baby girl – due on April 23.
Fundraising to pay for the trip kicks-off on March 13 with a Race Night at the Sun Inn, New Hey Road, Rastrick. On March 25 a Talent Night will take place at Jumpin’ Jacks in Halifax. There will be a walk from Halifax to Blackpool on March 27.
To donate visit Lee’s website www.leebarkerkickcancertrust.co.uk