A DAD from Great Sankey who was told he has an aggressive and rare form of cancer just weeks after the birth of his daughter says he is remaining as positive as he can be.

Gavin Plowman, 37, developed a dull lower back pain in April and was given a range of diagnoses from doctors, from muscle strains to gallstones.

As his symptoms started to worsen, the Greater Manchester Police officer was rushed to hospital in August for emergency surgery to remove an egg-sized mass from his spine.

But despite surgeons being ’99 per cent’ sure that the tumour was benign, they were ‘gobsmacked’ to discover that it was in fact cancerous, with it being extremely rare for that type of tumour to develop in that area of his spine.

“It wasn’t unusual for Gavin to have back pain as he does a lot of sport and we wear body armour as police officers,” said his wife Laura, who he married last month after bringing the date forward.

“His symptoms were getting worse however, and the pain in his back began spreading into legs and groin, so we knew that something wasn’t right.

Warrington Guardian:

The pair married on September 11 in Warrington after bringing their wedding day forward

“I was heavily pregnant at the time and we were under coronavirus lockdown, so the was a lot of stress around when he was told that he had kidney stones.

“But six weeks after Daphne was born and after Gavin’s pain had got worse, we were told by doctors that Gavin needed to go to A&E.”

Doctors originally thought that Gavin had cauda equina syndrome, caused by disks pressing on his spine, but an MRI carried out at Warrington Hospital discovered something more sinister.

On Friday, August 13, a mass was found on his lower spine and Gavin was told that he needed an eight-hour emergency operation at Aintree Hospital’s The Walton Centre, which specialises in neurology.

“There was a chance of Gavin being left paralysed and losing sight due to the operation, but it was something that we just had to do,” Laura continued.

“I was confident that he would be ok because one of the best surgeons in the country was working on him, but you still have that bit of worry.

Warrington Guardian:

“The egg-shaped mass was sent for a biopsy, with the surgeon of 20 years telling us that it looked benign and shouldn’t need any more treatment, and there were only fragments of the tumour left behind that were too dangerous to remove.

“But on August 24, we got a phone call asking us to come in to discuss his biopsy results, and we were told that he had glioblastoma multiforme grade four, which is the most aggressive form that you can get.

“Surgeons said they were gobsmacked by results as they were 99 per cent sure it was benign, and they said that it is extremely rare to develop this in his lower spine as it is normally found in the brain.”

Following their own research online, both Gavin and Laura could only find 200 cases globally of this type of cancer developing in the spine, and there are a lot of unknowns due to its rare nature.

But the pair are remaining positive as they look for alternative treatments outside of the NHS and UK, are refusing to give up and have launched a fundraising page so they can afford specialist help.

“Right now, you wouldn’t even think he has cancer as he is always laughing and joking,” Laura added.

Warrington Guardian:

“We are looking at alternative treatments and have spoken to two clinics offering immunotherapy in Mexico and Germany.

“Gavin is still upbeat and at peace with it, and wants to make the right decision for him with no regrets.

“We can’t do any fundraisers ourselves because of coronavirus, but the support from GMP and the local community already has been amazing.”

At the time of writing, more than £8,500 had been donated to Gavin’s cause in less than two weeks since the page was set up.

If you would like to donate something towards his treatment, visit gofundme.com/f/beat-it-with-plowman