Fife teen diagnosed with cancer at 16 leads campaign to join Race For Life At Home

A Fife teenager who travelled to Germany for treatment for a melon-sized tumour in his spine is inspiring people to Race for Life at Home - and carry on the fight against the disease as the nation looks beyond lockdown.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 2:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 3:01 pm

Promising footballer, Lee Watson, was just 16 when he was told he had a tumour the size of a melon on his spine and pelvic area.

After 15 rounds of chemotherapy treatment and 33 sessions of proton beam therapy in Germany, he is in remission, and has been chosen to help launch Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life at Home in Scotland.

It replaces the hugely popular Race For Life event at Kirkcaldy’s Beveridge Park.

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The 2020 event was cancelled because of COVID, and organisers have also announced this summer’s mass gathering - scheduled for Sunday June 13 - has already been rescheduled to Sunday October 3.

Cancer Research UK predicts a staggering £300 million drop in income caused by COVID-19 over the next three years which could put future medical breakthroughs at risk. 

Now, it is hoping supporters will be inspired by Lee to take on the Race For Life at home.

The charity wants people to run, walk or jog 5K this April and help fund life-saving research.

Lee Watson from Rosyth who is supporting the Race For Life At Home initiative (Pic: Lesley Martin)

Lee, now 18, of Rosyth, said: “I felt devastated when I was told I had cancer.

“I’ve been playing football all my life and thought at first the pains in my legs were from sport.

Lee Watson rings the ball to mark the end of his cancer treatment

“It was hard to take in that this was cancer. The treatment felt intense.

“I lost weight and I missed playing football so much.”

Lee, who plays with Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts, travelled to Germany in June 2019 to be treated at one of the most advanced proton beam therapy centres in the world.

He continued with chemotherapy after returning home, and on September 6, 2019, he was able to ring the bell in hospital to mark the end of treatment.

Lee was told a tiny piece of what looks like tumour remains close to his spine but it is no longer active.

He plans to return to playing football and a job working in Bob & Berts restaurant in Kirkcaldy. He also hopes to go to college to study either catering or plumbing.

He said: “I’m lucky the treatment has worked. I’m well enough to get back in to football and on with my life, and if I can help some other people through cancer then I’m glad to do that.”

Liisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman for Scotland, said: “We’d like to thank Lee and his family for sharing their story.

“The truth is, COVID-19 has slowed us down - but we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow. 

“ Even though we have to Race for Life differently this spring, nothing is going to stop us running, walking or jogging to raise money to help beat cancer.

“That’s why we need as many people as possible across Fife to sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, to stand united and do something extraordinary to help beat cancer.

Visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.

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