An OTLEY cancer survivor is set to Race for Life at Home with his family and carry on the fight against the disease as the nation looks beyond lockdown. 

Andrew Shippey, 42, will be joined by son Toby, ten, and three-year-old daughter Evie - the children he thought he’d never have after being diagnosed with testicular cancer in his first year of university.

Along with wife Alice, 38, the family will be celebrating by completing their own Race for Life at Home challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. They will join thousands of people from across the UK who have all vowed to run, walk or jog 5K either alone or in small, socially distanced groups this April and raise money for life-saving research.

Andrew, sales and services manager at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital, knows exactly how vital it is to keep raising funds for life-saving research. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in April 1997, just 18 years old and in his first year of university.

Andrew had been feeling unusually tired for some time. But during a football match with his local team while at home for Easter, he was elbowed in the stomach leaving him writhing on the ground in agony.

He knew it shouldn't have hurt as much, that something must be very wrong, so later that evening he went to A & E at Leeds General Infirmary, where he was admitted.

After two days of tests he was given the devastating news he had testicular cancer, with only a 50 per cent chance of recovery.

Andrew was moved to Cookridge Hospital where he began five days of chemotherapy, but his condition worsened. Doctors decided to send him to St James’s University Hospital where he was given some new and pioneering treatment developed by Cancer Research UK scientists which, only a year earlier, would not have been available to him.

Andrew was given a course of highly toxic chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. He was put on a life support machine in the intensive care unit and at one point had 17 drips and drains attached to his body.

This was followed by more lower dose chemotherapy and major surgery to remove the cancer which had spread from his testicle to behind his stomach. This was followed a month later by further surgery to remove the testicle, the source of the cancer.

Five months after his cancer diagnosis Andrew was finally given the good news that there was no more sign of cancer. After working to rebuild his strength Andrew was able to return to university the following academic year to complete his studies. Since then he has flourished and has gone on to have a successful career and his own family, settling down in Otley.

Andrew and his family have supported and fundraised for Cancer Research UK ever since his recovery, raising tens of thousands of pounds over the years. He has taken part in the Great North Run and London Marathon amongst other events, and his retired school secretary mum Margaret, 71, takes part in Race for Life and Swimathon every year – and even sells home baked mince pies at Christmas.

Wharfedale Observer: Cancer survivor Andrew Shippey, and children Toby (10) and Evie (3), get?ready to take part?in Race for Life at Home in their Otley garden

Cancer survivor Andrew Shippey, and children Toby (10) and Evie (3), get ready to take part in Race for Life at Home in their Otley garden

Andrew said: “I was extremely grateful to Cancer Research UK for the pioneering treatment I was able to have which absolutely saved my life and gave me a future I wasn’t sure I was going to have. It fell so lucky to be able to get married to Alice and then we were overwhelmed to first have Toby in 2011 and then Evie in 2017. After testicular cancer I thought being a dad would just be a dream, so I cherish every moment I get to spend with them, even though they run rings round me and beat me a football!

“So as a family we are taking part in our own version of Race for Life at Home – doing fun sporting challenges in our garden, with Alice acting as coach and mum being a much-needed referee. It is our way of saying thank you.”

Wharfedale Observer: Evie Shippey, aged three

Evie Shippey, aged three 

A live broadcast on the Cancer Research UK Race for Life Facebook and Race for Life Instagram pages on Saturday April 24 will include an energiser from a fitness expert as well as inspirational messages of support from people who have been through cancer. Participants are then invited to run, walk or jog 5K. Organisers are also inviting participants to share photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #RaceatHome 

Every year around 31,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the Yorkshire and The Humber and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime.  But the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. 

 Nicki Embleton, Cancer Research UK's spokesperson for Yorkshire said: “Even whilst we’re still apart, we can unite against cancer.

“There are a million reasons to Race for Life at Home, to help save lives, for those who have had vital treatment delayed or just for a reason to get off the sofa. We want people to run, walk or jog 5K and raise money for life-saving research.

“The truth is, COVID-19 has slowed us down.  But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.  

"Even though we have to Race for Life differently this spring, nothing is going to stop us running, walking or jogging 5K to raise money to help beat cancer. That’s why we need as many people as possible across West Yorkshire to sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, to stand united and do something extraordinary to help beat cancer.

 “We’re constantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation and are working hard to move our mass participation Race for Life events to the autumn and to make sure they can go ahead safely and with all necessary COVID-19 guidelines in place.

“We’d love to invite as many people as possible to Race for Life at Home this spring then physically come together in the autumn to join us for Race for Life in West Yorkshire.”

 The Race for Life 3K, 5K 10K and which are open to all ages and abilities have been rescheduled for this autumn and are now due to take place at Lister Park, Bradford on Saturday September 18th.  The Leeds events, which also include Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids, will now take part on Sunday, October 17 at Temple Newsam Park.

Sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, and visit or call 0300 123 0770.