Brave kidney transplant chef battles cancer
A Reedley chef with an inoperable brain tumour is putting others first by creating a charity to fund research.
Inspirational Ben King (27), who has suffered with kidney problems from the age of five, has refused to let the brain tumour hold him back after it was diagnosed in September last year.
The former Nelson and Colne College catering student, who has worked at the Sparrowhawk in Fence and the ACE Centre in Nelson, discovered he had cancer after the kidney he received at 17 from his dad started to show signs of failure.
He was seriously ill in hospital over Christmas and again at Easter but Ben has bounced back to set up BK’s Heroes, raising money for brain cancer and kidney disease research which has seen donations top £9,000.
Ben said; “I wanted to set up the charity to try and help other people and to raise awareness of brain and kidney diseases.
“But I also wanted to give something back. I have had some incredible medical staff look after me.”
Mum Fiona said: “If you walked past Ben in the street you would never know what he has gone through.
“We thought we were going to lose him before Christmas. It was a dreadful time.
“We always pull together as a family and we are lucky to have friends that wrap around us.”
Ben’s dad Dave said: “It’s not denial, but we had a belief that he would be OK and when he came out of the other side he would have a good quality of life. Fortunately at the moment he has that.”
Ben cannot have another kidney transplant because of the cancer and is not able to have chemotherapy because of his reduced renal function.
The family still face frequent trips to Royal Preston Hospital and Ben does not know his definitive prognosis, instead focusing on growing the group.
The BK’s Heroes Facebook page set up this month already has 1,500 likes and Ben’s brother Dan (28) has completed a cross fit marathon to kick start the fund-raising.
Friends are backing the BK bid too with one giving up takeaways for a year, Foulridge Social Club raised £2,000 through a ladies’ race night and trip to the races while money has also come in from others competing in the Burnley 10km race, via individual donations and through the sale of wristbands.
The family are now planning other events to raise even more cash and are looking forward to a family holiday to Florida.
Away from the fund-raising drive, Ben enjoys being creative in the kitchen, walking the family’s pet bulldog Bubba and going out socialising with friends.
Fiona said: “I think what he’s doing is fantastic. He was determined to set up the charity to help other people. He’s always helped others.
“He’s our hero and we couldn’t be prouder. I’ve never ever heard him complain once and he always smiles.”
And Dave added: “He’s an amazing lad. He’s as hard as nails but has a heart of gold.”