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Craig doesn't know what the future will hold ... but he'll be the best dad and husband while he still can; LIVING LIFE TO THE FULL Brave dad is face of new cancer campaign.

Byline: Express Reporter

A dad who married the love of his life just weeks after being diagnosed with a rare cancer has been chosen as the face of a new campaign designed to save lives. Craig Speirs, from Elderslie, brought his dream wedding day forward by a year after tests revealed tumours in his liver.

Now he has teamed up with his wife, Angela, 30, and children, Rhianne, eight, and Adam, one, to launch World Cancer Day in Scotland.

Craig, 37, was a Royal Engineer in the army and went on to become a security company manager.

He first developed symptoms, including abdominal pain, hot flushes and diarrhoea in 2010.

It wasn't until October 2013 following dozens of visits to his GP that tests at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Paisley, finally revealed cancer.

Craig said: "It was horrific as I'd gone along to the hospital on my own.

"The doctor drew a stick figure with some organs on it and said 'Mr Speirs, you have carcinoid tumours'.

"I asked 'Are you telling me I have cancer?' He said 'Yes".

"My next question was 'Is it curable?' He said 'It's treatable, but not curable'."

At this point, Craig and Angela were already planning their wedding and had a date for their big day.

He said: "I felt overwhelmed and just needed to go home to speak to my family.

"Angela and I had already set a date to get married in the summer of 2015, but suddenly I felt like I was in a race against time.

"It was autumn 2013 and I was in shock.

"I was scared I would only have months to live. We cancelled the summer wedding and turned all the new wedding arrangements around in just 12 weeks."

It was an emotional moment when Craig and Angela exchanged vows at the Beardmore Hotel, Clydebank, on February 15, 2014. Rhianne was a flower girl and around 70 guests watched them tie the knot.

Craig explained: "No-one knows what is going to happen in the future, but I knew Angela was the one for me.

"I was determined not to miss out on the opportunity to marry her.

"Angela looked so beautiful on our wedding day and I wanted to make it her perfect day.

"It was a chance to forget for a few hours all the tough moments we'd been through and to celebrate with the people we loved."

By his wedding day, Craig also had more information about the cancer he was fighting.

Doctors explained that Craig had neuroendocrine tumours in his gut that had spread to his liver.

The neuroendocrine system is made up of nerve and gland cells. It makes hormones and releases them in to the bloodstream.

Neuroendocrine cells in the gut make hormones to control the release of digestive juices in to the gut and the muscles that move food through the bowel.

A neuroendocrine tumour interferes with this process, leading to either too little of certain hormones or the wrong hormones being released in the wrong place. Craig started a course of injections every four weeks in an effort to stop the cancer from growing.

He also had surgery in June 2014 then again in September 2014 at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, in Glasgow, to cut off some of the blood supply to the tumours.

The treatment meant he was well enough to spend precious time with his family and on July 9 2016, Craig was overjoyed when his son, Adam, was born.

Craig said: "I was there when Adam was born and I'll never forget the moment the midwife put Adam in to my arms for the first time.

"Both my kids mean the world to me.

"I tell my daughter that daddy has a monster in his belly and that I have to go to hospital regularly to have the monster put to sleep."

Craig is now due to start peptide receptor radionuclide therapy, which is radiotherapy to cancer from inside the body.

The radioactive substance will be given to Craig through a drip in his arm every eight to 12 weeks.

And he knows exactly what he's aiming for this year, saying: "In 2018, I'm hoping for love, friendships and to continue to be the best dad that I can be to my children.

"I want simple things, like good times spent in the park on a Saturday afternoon with my family. But I'm also hoping for the big things, like new and better treatments for cancer for me and for everyone else out there who has cancer.

"That's why World Cancer Day is so important."

One-in-two people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime.

Although survival rates have doubled since the early 1970s, Cancer Research UK needs everyone to act right now to help speed up progress and see more people survive the disease.

Lisa Adams, the charity's spokeswoman in Scotland, said: "We are very grateful to Craig for his support and showing how important it is for everyone to wear a Unity band on World Cancer Day.

"By making a donation of just PS2, people across Scotland will be able to help fund crucial research to help give more men, women and children more precious time. More bands worn means more lives saved."

." ?Marked on February 4, World Cancer Day is designed to raise awareness of cancer and to promote its prevention, detection and treatment

Love and laughter Craig, Angela, Rhianne and little Adam make the most of their family time

In 2018, I'm hoping for love, friendships and to continue being the best dad that I can be Craig Speirs

CAPTION(S):

Hospital stay Craig has endured gruelling treatment

Wedded bliss Craig and Angela moved their wedding day forward
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Publication:Paisley Daily Express (Paisley, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 15, 2018
Words:968
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