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Man who beat ‘terminal’ cancer wins trip of a lifetime with partner

Man who beat ‘terminal’ cancer wins trip of a lifetime with partner

Andrew Brydon, a member at Bannatyne Health Club Colchester, put his partner Emma forward to win the prize as part of a Bannatyne Group initiative to recognise individuals who had profoundly impacted the lives of Bannatyne members.

In February 2018, aged just 42, Andrew received the dreadful news that his cancer had returned after radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and he was given just 10 months to live. He began to try to make memories with his family and got his affairs in order. He took his family on holiday, and he went as far as to film a clip with his 14-year-old daughter of him and her walking down the aisle – a duty she feared he would not live to fulfil.

Andrew’s health deteriorated. An amazing charity called TeamVerrico paid for Andrew to get advice from a Harley Street Professor who put him on a drug trial for immunotherapy. After initial complications, Andrew’s health began to improve, regaining strength through support from his family, but unfortunately, his marriage did not survive.

Andrew met Emma in January 2020 and felt a strong connection. Despite his concerns after being given just 10 months to live, Emma stuck by him, helping him to continue his recovery and bringing happiness and fun to each other’s lives.

The pair had only recently started dating when the UK entered its first Covid lockdown and Andrew had to suspend his experimental immunotherapy treatment. Not wanting to risk compromising his weakened immune system, Emma did what she could to support him, collecting and dropping off medication, preparing his meals and leaving them on the doorstep and keeping him company with Facetime calls and socially distanced chats from either end of the garden. His treatment was completed and has now been given the all-clear.

The holiday - their first together - marks a significant milestone for the couple, who have found newfound joy and vitality in life, even attending 'day raves' to relive their youth. The holiday package includes flights to New York and accommodation, as well as a packed activity schedule.

In his nomination, Andrew said: "Emma met me when I was recovering from terminal cancer. She took a risk and a gamble that I might not be alive and we fell in love. She cooked for me, took me to appointments to meet specialists. Four years later we are still together. I am feeling on top of the world and thriving. My energy and health is the best and my happiness and positivity is being appreciated by many other people in my life and hers. She is an angel.”

Talking about the win, Andrew said: "Winning this holiday is one more thing I need to thank Emma for. After facing the darkest moments of my life, being told I had only mere months to live, and then finding the strength to fight back thanks to the support of my amazing family and wonderful women, this trip to New York with Emma is not just a vacation — it's a celebration of life, our love - and the power of persevering.

“The theme of the initiative was ‘change your destiny’ and I have no doubt that Emma changed my destiny. She was there for me during my most challenging days and gave me the strength I needed to keep going.

“This trip is a chance for us to create happy memories together after living through some very difficult and trying times. Although I thank Emma every day for everything she has done for me, this feels like the universe rewarding her for being such a truly amazing and selfless person.”

Julia Osterwald, General Manager at Bannatyne Health Club Colchester, congratulated the deserving couple, saying: “One of the most rewarding things about being in the fitness industry is seeing how people become healthier and happier by coming to the club, but this tops everything I’ve ever witnessed in my career!

"Andrew and Emma’s story is nothing short of inspiring, and I have to admit it brought a tear to my eye when I heard it. They are absolutely the embodiment of the sentiment behind this initiative. I am so pleased they are the winners and I can’t wait to hear about their amazing trip when they get back!”

Duncan Bannatyne, Chairman and Chief Executive of The Bannatyne Group, said: “I was incredibly moved to hear of Andrew and Emma’s story. The initiative was created to recognise and celebrate the profound impact individuals can have on each other's lives, and the couple’s win is a testament to the transformative power of love, and the importance of never giving up.

“We are honoured to have played a part in the next step in their journey and wish them an unforgettable experience in New York City as their first holiday together. We aim to support the wellbeing, as well as the health, of our members and run many initiatives to make a positive difference to their lives but this has got to be one of, if not, the most deserving winners, so far. I am over the moon for them."