Cancer diagnosis leads to life changing weight loss journey

Date published: 02 July 2019 13:29
Dated: 02 July 2019 14:27:22

Meet John O’Malley, our Liquor Licensing Manager in South Yorkshire. 

He’s one of the people responsible for keeping the pubs and clubs safe and building relationships with licensed premises. 

But he’s also got an inspirational story we wanted to share with you…

In April 2016, John, 58, was diagnosed with kidney cancer. In the early stages, he was told by a consultant it would be highly likely that he would be on kidney dialysis for the rest of his life. 

“I was shocked. On top of what was already awful, the upset and the surgery, how could I put my family, my four children and four grandchildren through the stress of long-term care?” 

John then sought advice from another surgeon who said if he seriously looked at changing his lifestyle, he might be able to live a normal life. Cancer and the prospect of relying on dialysis meant John took a hard look at himself - at 25 stone he admits he had a lot to change.

He said: “At that time I was a PCSO, but had spent a long time as supervisor meaning I was office bound and my fitness was shocking. I had problems with my knees due to my size; I would leave Snig Hill and not be able to reach the Castle Square tram-stop without several breaks to catch my breath. It had to change, so in a moment of madness I bought an EBIKE…” 

John started building up his weekly rides on the bike, and started to lose weight, shifting around four stone just through exercise.

“I did hit a bit of a hurdle at this point, I’d lost quite a bit, quite quickly but wasn’t getting any further…so I trotted off to Slimming World. I must admit it was a strange new world, but I lost 11lb in the first week and somehow that figure is now up to seven stone. I even picked up the titles of Mr Sleek and Man of the Year, which makes me (and my colleagues) laugh out loud!” 

John has now lost nine stone and is cycling between 20-35 miles every weekend; he’s now moving onto a normal bike and leaving the EBIKE in the garage. His knees don’t hurt any more either. 

“I truly feel better than I have for many, many years. When I bump into people who haven’t seen me for a while they are genuinely shocked. One of the best things is the confidence it’s given me, I’m sure people used to look at me and think, ‘Why on Earth let yourself get like that?’ And I agree, but I’ve tried to rectify it and so far so good.

“It’s not been easy, but my life is so much better. I can kick a ball around with my 13 year old son and I don’t avoid walking or joining in with things in fear of struggling.” 

And that walk up to Snig Hill?

“Easy. On football weekends I can rack up 14 miles around the city centre carrying out checks on licenced premises. Two years ago I’d have had no chance. I truly do feel like a new man.” 

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