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Businessman makes donation to local hospitals after beating cancer

Mr Larnagh Presentation

Photo attached: (from left to right) Staff nurse Helen Lambert, ward 42 sister Maureen Flatman, chief executive Sue Jacques, Mr Ian Larnach, ward 32 sister Helen Cowen and staff nurse Julia Glasper.

 A Spennymoor businessman has donated more than £3,000 to his local hospitals after recovering from bowel cancer.

  Ian Larnach, the managing director of Ian Larnach Associates, a company of leading supply chain consultants in the construction industry, with the help of family and friends organised a range of charity events in 2012 and is donating the money raised to Bishop Auckland Hospital and Darlington Memorial Hospital after receiving treatment at both hospitals for bowel cancer.

  Mr Larnach said: "I was diagnosed with bowel cancer on 6th September 2011, I'll never forget that date. I'd just turned 60, my wife and I had been on a cruise for my birthday, and when we returned home there was a bowel cancer home screening kit waiting for me. I returned the test in the middle of August and then my whole world went into a tail spin. I went to Bishop Auckland for a colonoscopy, received the diagnosis in early September, and then was admitted to Darlington Memorial Hospital for an operation on 27th September.

  "After two to three weeks recovery I went straight into a course of chemotherapy at Bishop Auckland Hospital MARA Unit.

  "While I was in hospital, I remember thinking I'm really being looked after here and decided I wanted to give something back. I felt like I was being looked after like I was someone special but realised that was just how everyone was being looked after.

  "It was a horrible time but the staff were brilliant, not just with me but also with my family. From the nursing staff to my consultants, Mr Ramalingam and Mr Wadd, they looked after me so well and also kept my family informed about how I was doing and what was happening and why.

  "I'd expected the wards to be doom and gloom because of the nature of the condition but the positive and friendly attitude of staff really helped to give me a lift when I was feeling down.

  "For me, it's not just about giving something back to the hospitals but I'm also keen to raise awareness about the importance of doing early checks and seeking help, men don't tend to talk about illness but it is so important and as I have proved can make all the difference by catching cancer in the early stages. I hope sharing my story will help other people.

  "I decided from day one that I wanted to be positive, my wife and whole family supported me and helped me stay positive. I also wanted to talk about it with people and found that by having it out in the open just how common the disease is and I've met a number of people locally who have also been through it and we are now friends. It has helped to share the experience. I'm delighted to have now been given the all clear and feel I've got my life back now."

  Through events including a cabaret evening at Spennymoor town hall and a golf day at Bishop Auckland golf club, Mr Larnach raised £3000 to donate in equal amounts to both ward 42 and ward 32 at Darlington Memorial Hospital as well as a £3000 donation going to the Mara Unit at Bishop Auckland Hospital. A smaller amount of £400 was also donated to Newcastle RVI Children's Cancer Ward.

  Sue Jacques, Chief Executive of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "On behalf of the Trust, I would like to extend our thanks to Mr Larnach for spending his valuable time fundraising for us. His generous donations really will make a difference on the wards and we are very grateful to him. It is always pleasing to hear about the positive experiences of our patients and to have the hard work and effort of our staff recognised."

  Mr Larnach has now set himself the challenge of raising £5,000 every year to donate to local health services.