15th marathon fundraiser for Basildon doctor who beat cancer

Basildon Recorder: In training – Dr Eric Watts is running for cancer charity Macmillan In training – Dr Eric Watts is running for cancer charity Macmillan

A MAN who was inspired to do good after suffering cancer as a child is gearing up for his 15th marathon.

Eric Watts, 66, became a doctor after surviving a spinal tumour when he was just 12.

Dr Watts went on to spend 21 years as a consultant haematologist and clinical director at Basildon Hospital.

He has now retired, but is still ready to run for charity. He will take part in the Brighton Marathon on Sunday, April 6, for Macmillan Cancer Support – his first marathon in 15 years.

Dr Watts said: “Unfortunately, when I was younger I was diagnosed with a spinal tumour, which is what made me want to go into medicine.

“Sadly, it is far from uncommon for young people to be diagnosed with cancer, but thankfully children tend to respond, be resilient and handle chemotherapy better.

“But it’s not just the treatment that’s important.

You need help afterwards to get through all the toil and trouble of having cancer. You need help getting back to normal.

“I have seen first hand the work Macmillan does and I’m so proud to sponsor the charity and work with it.”

Dr Watts is still dedicating his time to improving cancer care through the hospital’s Basildon Cancer User Group and hopes any money raised will help Macmillan spearhead a new survivorship programme there.

To date, Dr Watts has taken part in 14 marathons to raise money for good causes, including a new endoscope and MRI scanner at Basildon Hospital.

Dr Watts, who lives in Brentwood, said: “Last time I decided to run the London Marathon in a dressing gown and everyone I was running past kept thinking I’d overslept!

“I’m a bit nervous because my last one was in 1999, but hopefully I’ll be able to raise a fair amount.”

To donate to Dr Watts’s latest mission, visit www.justgiving.com/eric-watts

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