‘Walking miracle’ completes 10k
A “MIRACLE” South Ayrshire man who won his battle with a rare cancer has fulfilled a life goal by completing a 10K run in less than an hour.
Stephen Brennan was only 33 when he was diagnosed with a form of oesophageal cancer in 2010.
A large tumour was found in his oesophagus and after a round of chemotherapy to shrink it, he had an invasive operation called an esophagectomy with a stomach pull-up to remove it.
Mr Brennan’s stomach now sits much higher in his chest cavity.
An elder at Dundonald Parish Church in Dundonald, South Ayrshire, he was a keen hillwalker and singer before his diagnosis and was determined to regain his full fitness.
It took Mr Brennan the best part of 13 years to build up the stamina necessary to take part in the Dundonald Highland Games 10k run on August 2, and he was delighted to complete it in 56 mins.
The part-time IT specialist, who had a form of a cancer called Adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus, ran in aid of Ayrshire Cancer Support and has raised more than £1300 for the charity so far.
Speaking on behalf of her husband, Rev Lynsey Brennan said: “We are all very proud of Stephen and completing a 10K run has been one of his life goals.
“He trained really hard after being inspired by a group of people in the church who did the couch to 5K challenge during lockdown.
“Stephen caught the running bug and it was very important to him that he ran in support of a local cancer charity which helps people affected by cancer in a wide variety of ways.
“The route of the 10k started in Dundonald and went round a nearby village called Symington and back, over hilly terrain.
“It was quite a difficult course but when he finished it he looked like he hadn’t even broken a sweat and is now planning his next run.
“I call Stephen my ‘walking miracle’ because he has overcome such a challenging cancer diagnosis when the odds were stacked against him – a miracle by the grace of God.”
Mrs Brennan, who has been the minister of Dundonald Parish Church since 2019, said most people are unaware of the extent of her husband’s cancer ordeal and the impact it had on him physically.
The type of cancer he had has a very poor survival rate as people often do not notice any symptoms until it has been growing for quite some time and had a chance to spread.
Mrs Brennan revealed that she was around eight months pregnant with their son, Ciaran, and had a toddler called Samuel when her husband was diagnosed.
She said: “Stephen is a quiet, calm and modest man and does not tell people much about what he’s been through.
“It was a very traumatic period in our lives but he has a strong Christian faith and he never felt sorry for himself and managed instead to radiate peace despite his circumstances.”
Mrs Brennan said the thought of being around to see his sons start primary school kept her husband going.
“That really mattered to Stephen and it was the thing that hurt me the most,” she added.
He is cancer free but is regularly monitored by doctors.