Cancer survivor rushes to save lives

June 23, 2017
Mario Spencer (right) plans to host fundraising event for cancer victims with the help of his friend Desmond E. Dennis (left).
Desmond E. Dennis

Cancer survivor Mario Spencer says that he is hoping to raise funds to help persons living with the deadly disease.

The 24-year-old Spencer, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma the most common type of cancer that develops in the bone at age 16, told THE WEEKEND STAR that as part of his fundraising efforts, he plans to stage a six-a-side football tournament at the Liberty Park Turf in Kingston next month.

"The event is still in its planning stages," said Spencer, who represented the Harbour View and Santos youth teams. "Right now, we're just seeking sponsorship. I've only confirmed one so far. We are just waiting for the others to get on board."

Spencer is aiming to raise $200,000, which would then be donated to the Jamaica Cancer Society in aid of sarcoma patients.

Desmond E. Dennis, a friend of the survivor, said that he would be using his talent in the area of theatre arts as well as the connections he has made through his area of expertise to help him make the fundraising efforts successful.

Dennis hopes to maximise on his talent and utilise his newly formed performing arts group, The ArtCore Performing Arts Company, to do productions for a concert Spencer hopes to have as a fundraiser.




For his part, Spencer hopes to have an annual fundraising event dedicated to helping persons with sarcoma. He is also writing a book about his journey of survival.

"I'm completing a book about my journey, Surviving Sarcoma, where I will describe everything in detail about my experience," said Spencer, noting that it is almost complete.

In sharing his story of resilience, Spencer said that the cancer was discovered in late 2009 after playing a game of football.

"I was playing football with my friends and just simply running, and I felt a sharp pain in my shin. At first I thought it was a torn muscle. I have this magic spray that relieves pain and I used the whole tin, and I still had the pain," he said.

He said that he did an X-ray and the doctor prescribed medication for arthritis. But it wasn't until he went to another doctor that he was told that he had stage two cancer.

Spencer said that he had surgery in March 2011, but he declared that his journey to recovery was a long one.

"There's a long healing process. It took over a year to properly heal, but I couldn't wait that long, so I started walking on it too early. I kinda have a limp now because of that, but I am fine," said the cancer survivor, who maintains a positive outlook because of his strong support system.

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