Terminally ill serviceman receives support from RAF colleagues

Shahbaz (right) was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer last November.
Shahbaz (right) was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer last November.

An RAF serviceman with terminal bowel cancer raising money for Pendleside Hospice has received a swathe of fund-raising help from his air-force colleagues keen to show their support.

Shahbaz Saleem (27) of Reedley was diagnosed with colonic tumours last November after returning from a four-month tour of Dubai and completing a charity climb of Mt Snowdon in Wales.

In a matter of days, Shahbaz's JustGiving page has received over 5,000 in donations.

In a matter of days, Shahbaz's JustGiving page has received over 5,000 in donations.

Despite having been given just days to live, the father-of-two, who is an active Logistics Officer at Royal Air Force Leeming in Yorkshire, has dedicated himself to fund-raising for Pendleside, where he is currently receiving palliative care.

"All the lads miss Shabz and it is definitely quieter without him," said Shahbaz's Flight Sergeant, Paul Marley (Flt Sgt ‘Ziggy’). "It is lovely that they [his colleagues] wanted to support the hospice, who are doing a great job in caring for him”.

Whilst in the Falklands over the last couple of months, Shahbaz's colleague have raised £370 in aid of Pendleside Hospice by hosting various fundraisers, including selling football cards and imposing jovial 'rules' while on base, with the penalties for breaking said rules resulted in fines from 20 pence to £1.

Shahbaz has served in the RAF for nine-and-a-half years, having joined as an 18-year-old. Having presented himself to A&E with abdominal pains last year, he is urging people to get any health scares checked out to try and catch any potential issues early.

"I would urge anyone who has any of the following symptoms to go to the doctors and get checked out - unexplained weight loss, sickness and/or diarrhea, loss of appetite or feeling bloated and full are some of the signs of Colon Cancer," said Shahbaz.

"I was a young, fit man who had climbed Mt Snowdon just a few days before my diagnosis so I just put my symptoms down to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

"I never thought that something like this would ever happen, especially as no one in my family has ever been diagnosed with Cancer; I am the first one and really didn’t expect it," continued Shahbaz. "You just never know, so please get to your Doctors if you have any concerns."

Keen to raise as much money as he can for Pendleside, Shahbaz set up a JustGiving page just five days ago, and has seen the fund-raising total skyrocket to over £5,000.

"I want to give something back to Pendleside as I have used their Inpatients and Day Service Units," said Shahbaz. "The therapy session which I had with Complementary Therapist Kate was out of this world. It made me feel so relaxed that I slept for 24 hours afterwards."

Shahbaz's JustGiving page can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Shahbazsaleem.