An open water swimmer who was given months to live following a cancer diagnosis last year has defied the odds, and taken part in the event inspired by him.

Businessman David Scott, 48, of Shotley Bridge, County Durham, took part in the Channel Challenge at Consett Leisure Centre on Sunday, August 20 to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Willowburn Hospice.

More than 45 people took part in the challenge and swam more than a combined 100 miles in the pool raising more than £6,000 for Macmillan and Willowburn Hospice so far.The Northern Echo: David Scott (left) on the day at Consett Leisure Centre with other Consett Rotarians

In 2021, David had been planning to swim the English Channel undertaking several eight and ten-mile training sessions in Ullswater Lake in the Lake District and Ellerton Lake near Catterick.

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That was until an unexpected decline in his performances, and general wellbeing featuring exhaustion, difficulty breathing, and extreme anaemia.

As a result, in February 2022 David had an endoscopy which found a 14cm tumour in his stomach. Following a biopsy, he was diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma, a very rare aggressive form of cancer which usually manifests in the lungs.

The Northern Echo: Lynne and David Scott

“I was absolutely devastated as I was told initially that surgery was not an option and chemotherapy, which they started straight away, would only extend my life that could be as short as six months," said David.

"But my oncologist and team were fabulous, because I responded very well to chemotherapy with the tumour disappearing quickly, they elected to offer me a complete gastrectomy – removal of my stomach and large intestine - at the RVI.

“Then followed six further rounds of intensive chemotherapy from August to November 2022 at the Freeman Hospital.

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“Although I am by no means out of the woods, as the cancer could return at any time, currently scans show I have no detectable live cancer cells.”

However, this type of cancer is so rare the oncologist has not been able to offer any accurate reading on David’s prognosis as it could return at any time.

He added: “The support including psychological as well as physical from my oncology team, the Macmillan Joining The Dots free service in County Durham and Willowburn Hospice which offers free counselling has been invaluable to me and my family.”

Macmillan Joining the Dots has supported David and his wife Lynne since October 2022 with various aspects from referral to welfare rights for financial guidance following diagnosis, to liaising with clinical teams to provide ongoing support.The Northern Echo: David Scott during cancer treatment

Claire Welsh, Macmillan Joining The Dots Coordinator said: “I’m really pleased to continue to support this lovely couple, and whilst it’s my job, I feel grateful that they trust me to be there for them.”

David is now focused on making every day count and although he won’t be swimming the full 22-miles on the Channel Challenge took part with the sponsored swimmers. All swimmers on the day will completeda portion of the overall distance in the pool.

David said: “It’s been a brutal roller coaster experience, meeting with the funeral director to discuss my own funeral, whilst struggling to get my head around the enormity of it all and having to close a successful business and let all my staff go.

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“And then followed by the elation of responding so well to treatment but knowing the cancer could return at any time and the impact that’s having on my family.

“It’s hard to plan but my wife, Lynne, who is a major trauma lead nurse at the RVI, and I are determined to stay active.

“I’m definitely looking to the future, I’ve started a professional qualification that will enhance my career, and I’m planning to travel and have some incredible experiences.”

David has already been to Africa where he met up with a friend and went on a Safari with trips planned for the Balearics, Japan and Australia in the weeks and months ahead.

If you’d like to donate to the Channel Challenge total visit: Channel Challenge at Consett Leisure Centre.The Northern Echo: David Scott in training