Robert Shearer is an aficionado of the film Braveheart.
So much so that the 61-year-old Aberdonian, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2010, has developed his own variation on the famous Mel Gibson speech.
In his words: “Cancer may affect our lives, but it will never take away our freedom.”
He speaks with the experience of somebody who has undergone extensive treatment throughout the last eight years, but displayed sufficient resilience to live what he regards as a normal life.
Indeed, the oil and gas industry HSEQ Advisor enjoyed a holiday in Cuba last week, but has now joined the rest of the men who will take to the catwalk for two Brave shows at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom on May 11.
The events have been organised by Friends of Anchor and Mr Shearer expressed his gratitude for how the charity had assisted him on his journey and helped so many other people across the north-east.
He said: “My diagnosis came out of the blue, when I was shaving and I noticed a slight swelling on my neck. A visit to my GP for a blood test led to an appointment at ARI and a biopsy was obtained.
“It was then I was told it was non-Hodgkin’s lymphona.
“For the next five years, I was monitored and my bloods were checked on a regular basis. Then, in 2015 as a result of a routine scan, there were signs of a growth in my lymph nodes.
“So I had three cycles of chemotherapy from what should have been six but one or two side effects occurred and the chemotherapy was stopped until normality had resumed.
“A scan was obtained and as a result of the three initial cycles it was found there had been a reduction and disappearance of some of the infected nodes. I was therefore put on a two-year maintenance programme.
“However, I developed pneumonia last year which was caused by a low immune system following completion of the programme.
“Consequently, I am now receiving monthly top-ups to my immune system which will be monitored by the haematology department doctors.
“These things happen. Sometimes, you have setbacks and you have to be sensible. However, the care and support I’ve received at the ARI from FoA has been tremendous and I can’t speak highly enough about them.
“My wife, Karen, has been a great source of additional support through these times in addition to family, friends and colleagues.
“I initially applied for Brave last year, so I am looking forward to being involved this time around.
“It is a really positive initiative, something which brings so many of us together and offers us a way to give something back.”
Mr Shearer has two sons and three grandsons and loves watching them grow up and spending time in their company.
Nor has his illness prevented him from aiming high if it’s for a deserving cause.
He added: “I completed a charity sky dive with the ladies from Courage on the Catwalk – in Glenrothes – and the positive way they all flung themselves into it was brilliant.
“I think all of us, male and female, have been inspired by the can-do attitude of everybody who works with Friends of Anchor and they are a great bunch of people.”