A father aged just 31 has begun a battle with cancer after being told he has only five years left to live – and he has Grantham behind him.
When he received the terrible news from doctors, Lex Bradley shared his story on Facebook and quickly built up support from friends, family and strangers who were moved by his message of strength and positivity.
“I’m going to give it the biggest war it’s ever seen,” said Lex, who ran a tattoo studio in Grantham until recently. “I’m not going down without a fight, never have done and I’m not about to start now. I want to see my kids grow up.”
‘Life is beautiful’ is a motto he lives by, and it is even tattooed on his chest.
It is a motto he wants to encourage other people to take on board, saying: “Enjoy what you’ve got and don’t moan about the little things. The little things don’t matter. It’s only when you’re in a position like this that you see that.
“It’s nice to have people say you’re an inspiration but I’m not. I’m just getting on with it.”
I’m going to give cancer the biggest war it’s ever seenLex Bradley
Lex first noticed a problem during a trip to the gym. While lifting weights, he felt his right shoulder ‘twang’ but thought no more of it, believing it to be a pulled tendon.
Two years passed and the pain worsened and it was when it began to affect his sleep that he visited a GP. Tests followed and doctors told him he has a bone sarcoma in his humerus, a bone in the arm.
He was to have chemotherapy and the bone removed, replaced with a titanium prosthetic. However, further tests then revealed that the cancer had spread to his liver, lungs and spine.
“The doctor said only a small percentage walk away and live for an extra five years. I asked what percentage survive completely and he held his hand up and there was about a 3mm gap between his thumb and pointing finger.
“It was then I thought to myself that if I’m going to start beating this thing I’ve got to develop an attitude that matches my warpaint.”
Sharing the terrible news with his dad and the rest of the family was devastating. “It’s a day I never want to relive,” he said.
But far from giving up, brave Lex has adopted a ‘positive mental attitude’ and changed his diet – and holds on to the hope that he will beat his cancer.
He said: “Through our weaknesses come strength. Instead of throwing in the towel I decided that, in fact, I was going to go the opposite way completely and do what I could for the kids. If the worse does happen, I’ll be happy knowing I’ve done what I could for them.”
Although he refuses to accept that his cancer cannot be cured, he has now launched a fund-raising page and is asking people to help him enjoy quality time with his partner Rachel, sons, aged 10 and six, and 10-year-old step-daughter.
He launched a GoFundMe page on Saturday, entitled ‘For the Little Dudes’. And as evidence of the support he has from the people of Grantham, his £2,000 target was smashed in hours. As the Journal went to press yesterday (Thursday) the total stood at £6,550, with 425 people having made a donation.
A grateful Lex said: “It’s unbelievable. I’ve always been a bit of a Jack the Lad – I’m not arrogant but I’ve always been a bit cocky, I’ll admit that, a bit of a showman, a frontman.
“To receive the amount of support with the facade I used to uphold is amazing.
“I believe in karma and I don’t remember putting into life anywhere near this much. People I don’t even know have donated £10, £20, £100 to kids they’ve never met.
“I couldn’t be more happy and proud of my friends and family.”
Lex said he and Rachel had planned to fulfil a dream of taking the children to Disney World in Orlando, Florida – however, his terminal condition means Lex cannot get travel insurance. Instead, they will enjoy as many family holidays in the UK as they can, with any money left over going towards things the children may need in the future, such as driving lessons.
But Lex hopes his fighting attitude means they won’t need it. “Cancer isn’t the end, it’s just the start of a battle. It’s up to you whether you win or not.”