Borders man with incurable cancer plans to help others with book full of stories of hope

A businessman living with incurable cancer is working on a new book which he plans to give free to others with the disease.

Kevin Donaghy, from the Scottish borders, is putting together the Book of Hope in a bid to show those who have been diagnosed with cancer that they are not alone in the challenges they face.

It comes more than four years after he was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer, in May 2018.

He was given the all clear after treatment, but 18 months later he was in A&E with agonising back pain and was devastated to to be told the cancer had returned.

Two tumours were discovered on his lung and next to his spine, and his cancer was now stage 4.

But Mr Donaghy (pictured, centre), who is now an ambassador with skin cancer charity Melanoma UK, said sharing his story with others had allowed him to “find my hope”.

And he wants the book he is working on to help do that for others.

He said: I know the impact a cancer diagnosis had on myself, as well as others, and the toll it takes on our mental health.

“I had made the decision to go to hospital on my own , without my wife, which was the worst possible thing I could have done.

“The oncologist was very softly spoken and extremely polite, but when the hammer blow fell and he told me of the diagnosis, I was enveloped in darkness.

“I then decided I wanted some form of control, so that even though I may have cancer, it wouldn’t define me.

“So I went out and shared my story with others, and I was fortunate to find my hope, in a very unexpected place.

“This made me want to return the favour and share the stories of others ­– patients, relatives, friends, cancer professionals and cancer charities ­– which would touch on the various themes of hope, and in turn give hope to those reading the book.”

He has so far gathered 20 “Stories of Hope” for the book, either from the charity or from personal introductions.

Among them is Ricky Nicol (pictured, right), founder and deputy chairman of Edinburgh-based business Commsworld, which is donating £6,000 to the project.

Mr Nicol, who recovered from throat cancer after being diagnosed 17 years ago, said: “What Kevin is doing is so inspirational.

“I am delighted to contribute my own story to his book, and Commsworld are also delighted to be providing the funds for it to be published.

“His book is really important, and could be life-changing for those who read it.”

Mr Donaghy wants to make the book available free of charge to more than 1,000 people who have been newly diagnosed with cancer, with copies being distributed via Melanoma UK and hopefully other cancer charities.

He wants to have as many as 35 personal stories in the book and is urging anyone suffering from cancer who wants to share their experience to email him at [email protected].

“Contributors’ stories will not be shared without their written consent,” Mr Donaghy said

But he added: “I hope that once the book is published, it will provide people with the opportunity to feel the love and support of others through the story of their own personal journeys.”

Gill Nuttall (pictured, left), chief executive of Melanoma UK, said: “At Melanoma UK we are very focused on the needs of the people that we support who have been diagnosed with melanoma cancer.

“Being able to send people copies of this book free of charge will help them and their families understand that they are not alone and that there is definitely hope.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2022, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Kevin Donaghy / PA.