A RETIRED army officer who has completed the Great North Run 12 times to raise cash for charity has spoken about the rare cancer he survived at an event at the Houses of Parliament.

John Young, 75, from Gilling West, near Richmond, was diagnosed with liposarcoma in 2016 and following surgery and radiotherapy is now active and in remission.

Last year he completed his 12th Great North Run at the age of 74, raising funds and awareness for the national bone and soft tissue cancer charity, Sarcoma UK.

Mr Young and wife Sue ran what they intended to be their final Great North Run together in 2015, raising £2,400 for Prostate Cancer.

But when looking at pictures from the finish line, Mr Young said his daughter asked him about a visible lump on his leg.

He said: "During the course of 2015 I had noticed this lump. I gone to my GP who said it was a fatty lump, but by the time of the GNR it had increased considerably in size.

"I went back to the doctor who sent me for a scan at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, and was quickly referred to specialists at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle."

A biopsy confirmed that it was cancer, and Mr Young was diagnosed with Stage 2 liposarcoma.

He underwent surgery in February 2016 to remove the tumour and surrounding margins, including three muscles – with the mass removed weighing about three and half pounds.

He was invited to speak on behalf of the charity last week at an event in Westminster, where he met MPs, including Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond, to bring attention to the Sarcoma UK’s latest report, The Loneliest Cancer.

The report provides a frank look at the current provision for sarcoma care in the UK and reveals how sarcoma and a general lack of awareness of the cancer can have a devastating impact on those affected by it.

Mr Young said: "Sarcoma is a rare cancer – a GP may only see two or three cases in their whole career. Unfortunately it is particularly prevalent among younger people. It accounts for 15 per cent of cancers in the under 15s. This is the age group of our grandchildren, so to increase awareness of sarcoma and to raise funds for research, we decided to come out of retirement for one final go at the Great North Run."

Visit www.sarcoma.org.uk.