South Shields fundraising champion Big Pink Dress praises doctors after early skin cancer diagnosis as he gets set for London Marathon

Fundraising champion Colin Burgin-Plews has thanked doctors who caught his skin cancer diagnosis ‘incredibly early’ just weeks after losing his mam to cancer.

The 52-year-old from South Shields contacted his GP after becoming concerned with the appearance of a mole on the front of his leg in early April and was referred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

It was there that doctors reassured Colin that the area in question was fine but said they wanted to check out another mole on the back of his thigh.

A biopsy was carried out and days later the charity fundraiser received a call to say that it was skin cancer.

"They caught it incredibly early,” Colin said.

"I phoned the doctors because I had found a mole on the front of my leg that looked funny and I went to get it checked out.

"The doctors said it was fine but they wanted to check one on the back of my leg at the top of my thigh that I couldn’t actually see.

"They said it was going to have to come off because it had cancerous cells in it.”

Colin Burgin-Plews has said he is so grateful to the NHS doctors who caught his skin cancer diagnosis early.

Colin is now waiting to have surgery on June 3 to remove the cancerous cells and said he will then need regular check ups every three to six months.

"It just shows that you should go and get checked no matter what,” he said.

“I have been very lucky as they caught it as early as possible and it was pure chance they found it.

"I am really grateful for it. It could have been a lot worse.”

Despite his diagnosis the Pink Big Dress fundraiser is determined to take part in this year's London Marathon.

Colin’s own cancer diagnosis comes just weeks after losing his mother, Pat Walker, nine weeks ago, aged 76, after a year-long battle with cancer.

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But despite all he’s been through, Colin – who has also battled heart problems – says he’s as determined as ever to complete an epic charity challenge for Macmillan in memory of his mother.

The challenge will see him run 40 half marathons in the lead-up to the 2021 Great North Run.

Fundraiser Colin Burgin-Plews said he is due to undergo surgery to remove the cancerous cells following his diagnosis.

The first 33 runs will all be done in t-shirts and running gear, but the last seven will be in one of his iconic dresses which he has made famous.

Colin is now eight runs into his challenge in just three weeks, with plans in place to take part in the Sunderland City Runs in June, the Gateshead 10k and the Great Manchester Run, should they go ahead under coronavirus restrictions.

But that’s not all, as Colin is also planning on completing his eighth London Marathon on October 3 in aid of Macmillan.

In 2020, he completed the event virtually by running on the streets of Tyneside after it was cancelled because of the pandemic and says he is prepared to do the same again this year if the race can’t go ahead as planned.

And already a Virgin Money Giving page set up for the race has raised an incredible £6,644.24 of his £10,000 target.

Colin said: "The donations have been absolutely amazing, I am over the moon."

Colin Burgin-Plews has said he is so grateful to the NHS doctors who caught his skin cancer diagnosis early.

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Colin Burgin-Plews, pictured at the launch of the 10th Sunderland City Runs event, is a much-loved fundraiser.