OVER the last 12 months, Paul Sheerin has trekked up hills, walked in a kilt (five times), organised a darts tournie and persuaded his friends to help him pack bags in a supermarket.

With an initial fundraising aim of £2500, he has instead reached a whopping £52,500 – all for the centre he says saved his life.

“If it was not for the people at the Beatson – the nurses, the porters, the wellbeing centre volunteers, every last one of them – I would not be here today,” says Paul, who is sharing his story as Volunteers Week (June 1-7) gets under way on Monday.

The Cumbernauld dad, who is married to Louise and has three sons – Corey, 8, Max, 6, and five-year-old Jack – was working in a Co-op distribution centre in 2013 when he became ill.

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“I had noticed one of my testicles was bigger than the other but like a typical, stubborn man, I did nothing about it,” he admits, sheepishly. “It was only when I came in from the nightshift in absolute agony one morning, that my wife said – enough is enough, you are going to see the doctor.

“I had an ultrasound scan and the doctors told me it was cancer – I had the operation to remove it the next day.”

A routine check-up following the surgery revealed a second, devastating blow – the cancer had spread to Paul’s stomach and he now faced nine weeks of chemotherapy.

“It was horrible, there is no other word for it,” he says, shaking his head at the memory.

“I had a one-year-old son, and just before I started treatment, we discovered my wife was pregnant with our second child. The thought of not being there for them – well, I knew I had to get through it. That’s what kept me going.”

Throughout his treatment and recovery, the Beatson Cancer Centre was by his side.

“The Beatson is an incredible place,” he says. “I had no idea about cancer, about any of it, before this happened to me, but the wellbeing centre, the staff – it is all amazing. It really opened my eyes to how they look after people. When I recovered, I wanted to do something for them.”

It started, he laughs, as a ‘simple’ idea with the aim of raising money by taking part in events like the Beatson’s own Off the Beatson Track sponsored walk and Movember.

However, the money started to pour in and last year, Paul decided to set himself the challenge of 12 fundraisers in 12 months in the lead up to his 40th birthday.

Paul’s commitment extends far beyond fundraising. A year after his chemotherapy ended, Paul started volunteering for the charity and in 2016, when the job of volunteer co-ordinator came up, he jumped at the chance.

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“I’m now responsible for our 276 amazing volunteers,” he says. “They do so much. Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity to give something back. People say if I cut myself, I’d bleed yellow because passion for the Beatson runs through my veins.”

He grins: “It’s true – the place and the people mean the world to me. I know I wouldn’t have made it without them.”