Wrestling melanoma and falling in love - Dr Mark's inspirational story
A MUM has published the memoirs of her son who died from cancer at the age of 28.
Mark Sims, a talented junior doctor, raised £100,000 for Cancer Research UK after blogging about his experiences of living with malignant melanoma.
Since his death last January the fund has now reached more than £200,000 and it is hoped sales from the poignant book, entitled P.S. I have cancer, will boost the total even further.
Mark, who attended John Cabot Academy, was 15 when he fought off skin cancer, caused by a genetic defect. The following 11 years Mark was healthy but a sudden stomach pain one morning led to the discovery of tumours in his liver, lung and spleen.
During his two-year battle with cancer, Mark was determined to do everything he could to raise awareness of the illness so he could help others.
Sadly Mark died on January 19, 2017, but lives on through his brutally honest and powerful blog, wrestlingmelanoma.com, which formed the basis of the book. Mark's mum Sue published the 312-page paperback through her company Poetry Space.
Sue, who lives in Longwell Green with husband Chris, said: "Mark wrote the book in the last few months of his life based on the blog he kept throughout his illness and there's been some extra material added.
"He asked me to publish it for him and, as I already publish poetry books, I was all set up to do that. I've had so many orders; it's been amazing."
Sue said: "Mark wanted to raise awareness of cancer generally and skin cancer in particular and also how you can still live a full life with cancer, as he managed to do."
The book is subtitled 'wrestling melanoma and falling in love', and chronicles how Mark met Georgie Latcham, a medical student who has since qualified as a doctor.
Sue said: "Mark met Georgie very soon after he was diagnosed. When the fundraising and blog took off he started to get invitations to talk about his illness. He contacted the University of Leicester, which is where he trained to be a doctor, and arranged to speak to medical students. Georgie was in the audience. She has since said that she'd already fallen in love with him from reading the blog and wanted to meet 'this amazing person'. They just hit it off straight away."
Mark proposed to Georgie in January 2016 on the steps of the Royal Marsden Hospital.
Sue said: "I was editing the book while Mark was still alive but I never knew about the groom's speech he wrote. He said he wanted it in the book and also read out at his memorial service by his brother Matthew. That was heartbreaking."
As well as paying tribute to Georgie, the speech thanks his parents for being an 'inspiration' to him and his brothers.
Sue said: "The first time I read it was after Mark died so it was very touching.
"I've been working with his words all year to correct grammar and to get the book perfect. I like working with his words; it brings him back. As well as being a story about Mark's illness, there's a lot of humour and hope in there. Mark had a very positive outlook on life. He loved life and loved his job as a doctor which is why he managed to keep working for part of the time he was ill. e became a bit of a hero because of his blog but to many people who knew him he was already a hero because he was always so kind and wanted to help others."
P.S. I have cancer can be purchased through Sue's website www.poetryspace.co.uk at the price of £9.95. There is a £3 post and packaging charge but people can arrange to pick it up from Sue by emailing email@example.com
All profits will go to Mark’s Just Giving fund for Cancer Research UK. You can donate directly by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Mark-Sims5