Few people would say they feel “lucky” after being diagnosed with two types of cancer and having a leg amputated.
But Aberdeen man Gordon Lawrence – who underwent 28 operations to rid him of the disease just months ago – is acutely aware of the fact that many people in his position would not have “come out the other side”.
And, as he straps on his prosthetic limb for a fundraising fashion show next month, the 57-year-old will mark a major milestone in his recovery from the life-changing operation.
All of the 24 men taking to the stage for Brave, the catwalk show at the Beach Ballroom which raises money for Friends of Anchor, have their own experience of the illness – and will have overcome significant hurdles to be part of the special event.
Some will still be locked in battle against cancer, while others will strut their stuff on Friday, May 10, as a way of thanking those who helped them conquer it.
Mr Lawrence was nominated to take part by his sister, after losing his limb just months ago in an effort to prevent the spread of cancer.
The engineer, who lives at Danestone with his wife Julie, their two grown-up sons and Husky-Alsatian cross Link, last night revealed that he had “no recollection” of those months where he underwent intense treatment.
Mr Lawrence said: “They found cancer in my kidney in June 2017 and during subsequent scans discovered Leiomyosarcoma in my pelvis, which is a tumour that develops in soft tissue.
“So it turned out I had two different cancers and, as each visit happened, it got worse and worse.
“When I went in at the start of November, I was scheduled for surgery the next day.
“I was in a coma for the first 12 days, and had surgery every two or three days after that.
“I don’t remember anything for two months. It is difficult to say I consider myself lucky, taking all that into account, but I am because I am still here.
“Taking part in Brave is my way of thanking the people who made sure of that.”
Mr Lawrence is gradually adjusting to his prosthetic leg, and everyday situations he previously took for granted now represent fresh obstacles.
“I haven’t been on a plane or played golf since getting it, and I wonder about things like that,” he added.
“You really have to think about how you get about, but I am getting stronger and it is a big step when you manage something different.
“Brave is going to be something else though.”
Mr Lawrence joked that he will consider the night a success as long as he “doesn’t fall off the catwalk”.
Though Mr Lawrence relishes the challenge of Brave, and has been able to return to work with energy firm Chevron, he is reluctant to plan too far ahead.
He said: “At the moment, I am cancer-free. But you never know if it is coming back and I have been told there is a likelihood that it will.
“It is easy to say ‘don’t worry about it’, and we try not to.
“There is nothing we can do about it, so I just try to enjoy things as they are.”