8:00am Thursday 1st March 2012
By Katie Bond
HE MAY look like a fit and healthy, sport-loving 28-year-old.
But Will Gibney, who grew up in Old Town, is battling a rare and incurable cancer called Renal Cell Carcinoma.
Unsure of his prognosis, Will has compiled a wish list of things he would like to do while he still feels healthy in himself – mainly revolving around his love of cars.
Will, a former Commonweal School and New College student, was diagnosed with the disease just before Christmas last year after suffering injuries from a mountain bike accident near Highworth in May.
Originally thought to be muscle strain, the problems persisted and, after a number of scans, it was thought Will had kidney stones.
“They began scanning for kidney stones and found a tumour but, being just 28, they thought it was benign. It turns out I am a bit of a rarity really because I am so young and they don’t normally see this kind of cancer in people my age,” said Will, who is now the director of WMSki and WMActive in South Cerney.
Will is undergoing oral chemotherapy, which involves him taking a couple of tablets every morning, and said so far he hasn’t noticed any obvious side effects.
“Basically, it stops you from growing cells and boosts your immune system, so I don’t heal very well anymore and I have these grey hairs growing – nobody really knows why but it might be stress,” he said.
“I will take these tablets as long as possible, as long as my body can tolerate it.
“I don’t know what the prognosis is. Most people would want to know, but for me it would make it all far too real and so I've chosen not to ask.”
As well as the tumour in his kidney, Will has a tumour on his lowest vertebra that is causing him pain in his back. He recently underwent radiotherapy for this at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
Will, who grew up in Okus Road with parents Paul and Arline, and sisters Harriet, 20, and Laura, 26, proposed to fiance Debbie Leonard shortly before his diagnosis.
The couple, who have been together for seven years and have a golden retriever called Ollie, planned on getting married this year.
“Debbie has been a fantastic support and I wouldn’t want to be doing it without her but she is quite shaken up by it. It’s ruined her life,” he said.
“I’ve worked really hard for 10 years to get where we wanted to be, missed out on gap years and seasons away in the hope that we could get into a position where we could go away and travel together. She has put up with me working every weekend for seven years and we finally thought this was going to be our year.”
Will hopes to achieve as many of the items on his list as possible and is being flown to Barcelona today to spend the day with the Formula 1 team thanks to money raised from a web forum called SELOC.
To contact Will and help make one of his wishes come true, email email@example.com.
He has asked that any donations be made to the Make a Wish charity.
To see his list, log onto http://gibneyslist.blogspot.com/
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