Active stories: Con Heywood

Con Heywood, aged 50 from Cheltenham was diagnosed with bowel cancer. It was operable and he is now in remission after 6 months of chemotherapy.


‘Whilst I was ill I was less active than I would normally be and I was concerned that once recovered I would be at high risk of a back injury due to loss of muscle tone and a number of other health issues including having gained 10kg.

However I was selected to join an NHS/ McMillian pilot scheme which was brilliant to be a part of as it introduced me to some guided physical activity which was done under supervision. I’ve never been a member of a gym as I never knew where to start on my own. As well as benefitting me physically, it gave me something positive I could do to improve my lot as there is evidence that exercise can support people with cancer.

From diagnosis I can only describe the experience as an unpleasant white knuckle roller coaster ride. The exercise that I did gave me some control and has improved my mental strength and resilience.

I didn’t have any energy to do anything during the treatment and now I cycle over 1,000 miles a year - commuting to work. Following on from the Pilot scheme I still attend a 'maintenance class' once a week and I walk most lunch times to get away from my mostly sedentary desk job and refresh myself for the afternoon.’