AN inspirational man who survived testicular cancer twice, is backing a new campaign from Cancer Research UK to help more people like him beat the disease.

Chris Koppens, 30 from Tyldesley was diagnosed with testicular cancer on two separate occasions – first at the age of 19, then eight years later age 27 – after spotting unusual lumps.

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Chris before his surgery

Thankfully, Chris was successfully treated with surgery, chemotherapy and hormone replacement therapy – and he celebrated his remission last year with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia with his girlfriend Sarah.

Chris, who works as a welder, said: “Going through cancer makes you realise just how precious life is. I’ve been through a lot over the last few years, but my story is one of survival.

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“I’m determined to turn my experience into a positive and do what I can to help other people beat this disease. Research into cancer is so important, and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure it continues.”

Cancer Research UK currently funds around 50 per cent of all cancer research in the UK, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it expects to see its fundraising income decline by up to 25 per cent in the next financial year – putting this life-saving research at risk.

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With fundraising events cancelled and the charity’s shops closed, Chris is vowing to help Cancer Research UK continue its mission as the charity launches an urgent TV appeal to drive donations.

Chris, who is now cancer free after undergoing two successful orchidectomies (surgery to remove the testicle) and a round of chemotherapy, said: “It was really tough to be diagnosed with the same type of cancer, not just once but twice.

"On both occasions, I’d noticed unusual lumps and gone straight to the doctor to get checked out. As a young man it wasn’t an easy time, but thankfully there was treatment available and for that, I’m extremely grateful.”

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Chris also lost his dad to cancer between his own diagnoses, which has given him added motivation to make sure research continues.

He said: “Dad and I were best friends. We were always together. We worked together, we socialised together, we set up a business together.

“My second diagnosis was just a few months after dad passed away. It really floored me as I was still grieving for him. But with the support of amazing friends and family, I got through treatment to the other side. I definitely like to think he’d be proud of me.

“Cancer is very personal to me and my family and by boosting funding now, we can all help more people in the future."

"So, I hope that people across the borough will be inspired by the charity’s determination to carry on beating cancer and give what they can.”

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Anna Taylor, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, said: “Chris’ story is one of hope and inspiration.

"We’re incredibly grateful to him for his support and we hope that he will inspire others to support Cancer Research UK and help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

“We’ve always said ‘together we will beat cancer’. But the truth is, COVID-19 has slowed us down. Right now, clinical trials are being postponed and we’re having to delay vital research.

“But we will never stop. Around 5 people are diagnosed with cancer every hour in the North West, which is why we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow. However, we can’t do it alone.

“Every step our scientists take towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated. So, with the help of people in the North West we believe that together we will still beat cancer.”

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