A coach who has trained some of the UK’s best athletes has raised more than £8,000 for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to thank the doctors and nurses that helped him overcome testicular cancer.
John Powell MBE, 58, from Bromley in Kent, and a recently retired police superintendent, said: “I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in 1990, and over the ensuing years I’ve raised more than £7,000 to thank them for prolonging my life. In February this year I hosted a charity dinner for the hospital, and we managed to raise another £1,200 to mark that it’s been 25 years since my final dose of treatment back in 1992.”
John, who has coached dozens of British international athletes, including Phillips Idowu, treble European medallist David Bolarinwa, and Olympian Chris Lambert, had major surgery to treat his cancer at Guy’s and St Thomas’ after his diagnosis and was given the all clear in July 1991.
Unfortunately, the cancer returned that October, and John was told he only had six months to live if left untreated. Following medical advice he decided to freeze his sperm as the chemotherapy he needed can affect fertility. John also underwent a bone marrow transplant as part of treatment, and was cared for in Samaritan Ward at Guy’s Hospital. He made a full recovery, and was back at work answering 999 calls within just two months.
John re-married in 2008, and in February 2012 his daughter Jasmine was born using the sperm that had been frozen in 1991. As such that made Jasmine the “oldest” IVF baby ever in the UK. And to top that off, John and his wife Chanphen were delighted when their second child Jessica arrived 21 months later after private specialists had given him a one in two million chance of conceiving naturally.
He said: “I am quite simply the happiest man alive.”
Louise Farrow, who cared for John when he stayed on Samaritan Ward in 1991 and is now matron of the ward, said: “I was part of the team that treated John when he first came to us in 1991, and it is great to see him doing so well as an athletics coach and police superintendent all these years later.
“We are overjoyed at John’s generosity, and this money will go a long way in helping other people suffering from different types of cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.”
John added: “I have been fortunate enough to have travelled the world as an athletics coach, been promoted to superintendent in the police, attended two Olympic Games including London 2012 as a coach, and been awarded an MBE for services to athletics by the Queen. This was all possible thanks to the wonderful treatment I received at Guy’s and St Thomas’. I quite literally owe them everything.”