Good neighbours rally round 22-year-old who has been given only weeks to live

Friends of terminally ill Haswell man, Marc James, pictured in the wheelchair he now has to use, have rallied round in support of the 22-year old and on Sunday held an event in his honour. Mark is pictured with (front, from left, his sister Megan, his parents Allison and Bill, and Steph Hughes, Ruth Stanger and Kyle Soakell, who all did a bungee jump to raise cash for Mark.
Friends of terminally ill Haswell man, Marc James, pictured in the wheelchair he now has to use, have rallied round in support of the 22-year old and on Sunday held an event in his honour. Mark is pictured with (front, from left, his sister Megan, his parents Allison and Bill, and Steph Hughes, Ruth Stanger and Kyle Soakell, who all did a bungee jump to raise cash for Mark.
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A PROMISING student doctor has been given the devastating news that he only has weeks to live.

Marc James was just half way through his five year medicine course at university when he began to feel unwell.

At first, doctors prescribed painkillers after the 22-year-old began suffering pelvic pains.

But while on placement at Sunderland Royal Hospital, Marc was sent home ill, only to return to the A&E department after he was left in agony.

From there he underwent tests only to be told he was suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

The form of cancer usually affects children and symptoms can include feeling tired, generally unwell and run down, as well as unusual bleeding.

Marc said: “It was just a massive shock and I knew from then that unless I could beat it I would never be going back to uni at all.

“Things aren’t good. I’ve been told its weeks, rather than months.”

Following his diagnosis in October 2009, the Newcastle University student was given treatment at the city’s Freeman Hospital, which included chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.

He had been doing well until June last year, when tests carried out after he came out in a rash found he still had leukaemia, leading doctors to make the terminal prognosis.

Now neighbours of Marc, from Haswell, have rallied around to ensure he enjoys what time he has left and to support his family.

Marc, Alison, 39, dad William, 58, and sister Megan, 13, recently spent time away at a holiday park in Ripon thanks to help from fund-raisers.

A bungee jump held at the Oddfellows Arms at the weekend also helped to collect more cash.

Friends plan to give the money to Marc, but he intends to donate it to the Freeman so it can make facilities more welcoming to young people as they undergo cancer treatment.

Marc added: “I just can’t believe it, everyone’s been so kind.

“I’ve lived here all my life and you just keep yourself to yourself, but to just see everybody, it makes you realise how good people are.”

Amy Steel, 24, a friend of Marc’s who has been involved with the fund-raising, said: “We wanted to give Marc something special and do as much as we can to help.”

Ruth Stanger, 22, who took part in the bungee event, added: “He’s a really nice lad and when we heard about what had happened, we just wanted to do something.”

Others who also took part in the sponsored jump were Mark Stanger 23, Stephanie Hughes, 20, Kyle Soakell, 19, James Towland, 23, and Natalie Scott, 25.

Twitter: @echoeastdurham