Danny was just 26 when he was diagnosed with stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer. As a former smoker – he quit before his daughter, Skylar May, was born – he asked himself if that was the reason for his diagnosis, whether he was to blame. A conversation with his doctor however soon cleared that up.
“Of course I wondered if the fact I used to smoked caused my lung cancer but when I asked my doctor, he turned round and said no. He’d tested it and said it was not the reason. He just said I was unfortunate and I’ve just got that gene that gave me the cancer.
“I’ve never hidden the fact that I used to smoke. Every time I mention that I have lung cancer the first question is ‘Did you smoke?’. I’m open and honest about it. I say ‘Yes I did smoke but I quit before my daughter was born’ so it is frustrating to be constantly asked because you don’t need to smoke to get lung cancer.
“But so many people don’t know that, even people that really should. Before I was diagnosed, my consultant said because I was only 26 at the time that they weren’t even going to look into lung cancer. They said I was too young. Surely though, if they had any suspicion that I could have lung cancer then they should have put forward the testing for it. You don’t have to be in a certain age range to get lung cancer so you should be tested regardless.
“That’s why I decided to join this campaign, to say – Look, not every 60, 70, 80 year old is diagnosed with lung cancer. You can be young and get it as well – even younger than me – but they don’t get the chance to get their voice out there. This is my chance to everyone around my age that you’re not the only one who’s in our age range to get lung cancer; we’re here and we’re in this together.”
"Of course I wondered if the fact I used to smoked caused my lung cancer but when I asked my doctor, he turned round and said no. He’d tested it and said it was not the reason. He just said I was unfortunate and I’ve just got that gene that gave me the cancer."
Even if you smoked, it doesn't mean that is the reason you got lung cancer
Speaking publicly is not something that comes easily to Danny but his partner, Laura, was there to support him through it:
“I feel so proud of him that he’s getting his point across,” Laura said smiling, “and that he’s doing something which is totally out of his comfort zone. I mean he wouldn’t usually speak up about things like this but it’s something that he’s really passionate about and we both know how important it is.
“A lot of people we speak to say he’s too young to have lung cancer but he’s not. It’s not an older person disease, it can happen to anyone. It’s rare but it does happen – Danny is proof of that.
“So yes, I am incredibly proud of Danny and I know Skylar May is too. I think he’s being a great role model for her and making the world a better place for when she grows up. I just hope he’s still here to see that.”
Danny has just had surgery, which successfully removed the cancerous nodules in the lung. The surgeons were also able to take out some of the lymph nodes in his chest. His family is awaiting the results.