OVER the summer months, first-time dad Tom Cameron should have been enjoying precious moments his baby son. Instead he was planning his own funeral.

Just over a year earlier Mr Cameron had started suffering with a cough and night sweats.

After undergoing tests he was given devastating news.

Born and raised in Ramsbottom, the former Woodhey High School and Holy Cross pupil Mr Cameron moved to Dorset seven years ago ­— where he lives with his wife Chloe and baby Otto.

In the spring of last year he fell ill but believed it was probably due to his irregular sleeping and eating habits, owing to his new baby.

When his cough did not clear up, however, Mr Cameron’s wife Chloe and his mum Janice told him he had to see a doctor.

Following initial tests doctors thought Mr Cameron may have a pulmonary embolism. But after undergoing a CT scan and X-ray he was diagnosed with stage four Primary Mediastinal B Cell Lymphoma ­— a rare form of cancer.

Mr Cameron said: “I took the diagnosis fairly well. In a sense I thought right, OK, what’s next? But it was very upsetting. My whole family was very shocked because I’m fit and healthy and I had just had a cough.”

Mr Cameron immediately started R-CHOP chemotherapy treatment at Poole Hospital, and initially it looked like the therapy would help him kick the disease.

“I started feeling better. But by around the fifth or sixth round I noticed a lump in my chest and scans showed the cancer had started to grow again," Mr Cameron said.

He was then put on a course of R-IVAC aggressive salvage chemotherapy. However, after two cycles, and several blood and platelet transfusions, this treatment could not control Mr Cameron’s cancer. The 31-year-old, an operating department practitioner, was transferred to the University Hospital Southampton to start on the experimental ARGO lymphoma treatment clinical trial.

After two cycles Mr Cameron’s health deteriorated rapidly, and the lymphoma continued to grow.He was then put forward for a revolutionary new treatment, without which doctors feared he may have to be put on palliative care.Thankfully he was accepted for CAR-T Therapy and he moved to London with his whole family for ten weeks for treatment at Kings Hospital, in April. Things initially look positive but unfortunately Mr Cameron’s recovery did not continue for long. Even revolutionary CAR-T Therapy failed and doctors at Kings Hospital told Mr Cameron there was nothing more they could do.

“The treatment had worked initially and after 30 days I was in remission,” Mr Cameron said. “But then by 90 days I was told it was back.

He said: “It was devastating because at that time it was the best I had felt."

“But unfortunately the disease came back and it was a big sucker punch.”

As well as the huge toll the cancer has taken on Mr Cameron’s health, the disease also had a massive impact on his family.

“It has put everyone’s lives on hold, he said. “We still have not returned to anywhere near normal. In just 18 months I had had to look at wills, plan my funeral and look at burial grounds.”

With his options running out Mr Cameron was left with one last roll of the dice. A consultant at Southampton Hospital told him about an immunotherapy drug which could be his last chance to beat the cancer.However, the treatment is not available on the NHS meaning he has to self-fund at a cost of £3,558 per three-weekly infusion.

Fortunately, family, friends and even complete strangers have helped Mr Cameron raise £35,000 for the treatment via a GoFundMe page, and he has now received four doses. The treatment has meant that Mr Cameron is once again cancer-free. But tragically his recovery is not predicted to last.

Doctors estimate that the drug will give Mr Cameron around a year and half before the cancer returns.

His only chance of survival now rests on finding a stem cell donor for an urgent transplant. Mr Cameron said: “Although I’m cancer free on this drug they have said it only really works for around 18 months, after which the cancer is likely to return. Stem cell therapy is my best chance of being completely cured. It would mean everything to get this treatment and try and return to a normal life.”

Mr Cameron is now encouraging as many people as possible, under the age of 45, to register to become a stem cell donor in order to not only save his life but also lives of countless others in desperate need of a transplant. He said: “By registering to donate your are potentially saving lives with only a few simply health checks. To able to do that for someone is just incredible.”

To follow Mr Cameron’s story and campaign and donate visit his Instagram @Cammers4 and gofundme.com/f/support-tom-in-his-journey-with-lymphoma. For more information about registering as a stem cell donor visit anthonynolan.org if you are aged 18 to 30, or dkms.org.uk/en.