Phil To Tackle Great Manchester Run Again

Great Comeback 2

Former BBC presenter Phil Sayer admits he is lucky to be alive after surviving a major health scare.

He bravely took part in last year's Morrisons Great Manchester Run despite being told on the eve of the event that he had oesophageal cancer.

After undergoing surgery and two intensive courses of chemotherapy treatment, he is determined to be back on the start line for this year's 10k challenge on Sunday, May 10. 

It will be a poignant appearance for Phil and wife Elinor Hamilton, from Bradshaw, Bolton, after coming through the ordeal. 

Phil was a DJ at Piccadilly Radio and BBC Radio Manchester for many years and a familiar face on TV reading regional news bulletins. 

He said: "This type of cancer is often without obvious symptoms until it's very advanced. To be honest I'd never felt better, yet there was cancer in there.

"If it is diagnosed too late, then surgery is no longer an option. Mine seems to have been caught just in time. The surgical procedure – around eight hours on the operating table – involves removing much of the food pipe and part of the stomach. "

He was also fortunate his voice, which is his living, was not affected, though there was a risk of damage. 

Phil and Elinor are both voice-over artists, their dulcet tones heard by millions of people every day.

They record radio and television commercials, e-learning projects and other spoken-word audio from their own studio. Additionally, Phil records the automated announcements used on hundreds of railway stations across the UK, while Elinor's voice is heard over the PA system on the London Underground. 

Phil added: "The 10k is a big challenge and I'll try to run it, but I just want to get round from beginning to end.  It's great to be here a year down the line with every confidence I've still got a future."

Nine-year-old twin sons Alex and Ben are also doing their bit by taking part in the two-mile Junior Run in Heaton Park on Saturday, May 9.  

The family are raising funds for The Oesophageal Patients' Association (OPA) highlighting the work of the charity which supports and re-assures patients. 

The OPA plans to help many more patients as it celebrates its 30th anniversary.   Oesophageal cancer is the fifth most common cancer with 12,900 people diagnosed each year.

To sponsor Phil and Elinor go to www.justgiving.com/teamcliftypops2/

To enter the Morrisons Great Manchester Run go to www.greatrun.org/Manchester