I thought I just had a mole on my head – now I’m learning to walk again

Getting a haircut is usually a fairly simple experience, especially for men.

But when Elliot Simpson was in the salon, his stylist noticed something odd.


Elliot Simpson was having his hair cut when his stylist noticed something strange. He is pictured above with his girlfriend Courtney1 credit
The barber showed him the mark on the back of his head and Elliot knew he had to have it checked.


The barber showed him the mark on the back of his head and Elliot knew he had to have it checked.1 credit

His hairdresser showed him the back of his head after a July 2020 cut and pointed out a mole – which, at first, the 26-year-old admits, he thought nothing of.

Fast forward two years and Elliot, from Blackburn, Lancashire, is now battling stage four melanoma skin cancer.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the fifth most common type of disease in the UK.

Besides that, the Blackburn Rovers fan also suffers from Crohn’s disease.

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Crohn’s disease is a disease that causes inflammation of the digestive system.

Inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury or irritation and can cause redness, swelling and pain in people with Crohn’s disease.

Those with the disease struggle with debilitating symptoms such as mouth sores, loss of appetite and weight loss, fever and fatigue.

It is often described as a chronic condition and although sufferers have periods of good health, there are flare-ups where symptoms are more active.

Speaking to The Sun, Elliot, who was studying computer science at Manchester Arden University, revealed his grueling journey – which includes efforts to raise thousands of pounds after regulatory bureaucracy meant he couldn’t not get the life-saving treatment he so desperately needed. melanoma.

Elliot was 24 when he first learned of his mole, and says he continued to take photos of it to document its growth, and sent the photos to his doctor on September 4, 2020.

“When I saw it, at first I didn’t think twice,” he says.

“I was on treatment for my Crohn’s disease at the time, which meant I was getting an injection every two weeks to keep it from getting worse.

“After a few months I sent the doctors a picture of the mole and they just said it was a warty lesion and nothing to worry about.

“There were a few people in my life who were urging me to get it checked out, including my friends, family members and my girlfriend.”

But to be sure, the doctors told Elliot to continue measuring the growth.

I have to learn to walk again

Eliot Simpson

After noticing a change on September 30, 2020, he sent more photos.

Three months after the initial appointment, doctors told Elliot he could have the mole cut out if it was something bothering him.

Months later, he decided to have the mole removed and went to a clinic for a minor procedure.

“A few days later, they took me to the hospital. I wasn’t allowed anyone with me due to the Covid pandemic, and I really had no idea what was going on.

“I really didn’t think anyone was going to tell me I had cancer.

“It tore my family’s world apart and being told by myself was so difficult,” he says.

What is melanoma and what are the signs to look for?

The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or the change in an existing mole.

Most experts recommend using the simple “ABCDE” rule to check for symptoms of melanoma skin cancer, which can appear anywhere on the body.

  • Asymmetric – melanomas usually have two very different halves and are irregularly shaped
  • Border – melanomas usually have a notched or irregular border
  • Colors – melanomas will usually be a mixture of two or more colors
  • Diameter – most melanomas are usually over 6mm in diameter
  • Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be melanoma

Elliot was initially treated at Blackburn Hospital but was soon transferred to Royal Preston Hospital Rosemere Center for treatment.

“They didn’t tell me how long he had been cancerous and after the initial diagnosis further investigations were needed to find out what stage he was at,” he added.

Elliot had to have the mole removed and ended up with a large scar on his head.

That’s when the Teenage Cancer Trust stepped in to help Elliot find his bearings and understand his condition.

Elliot said Tracey from the charity was instrumental in helping him understand what was going on, as well as getting information and updates from doctors for him.


Elliot had his first PET scan on December 31, which revealed that the cancer was stage four and had spread to his liver, further complicating matters for Elliot and his Crohn’s disease, as he could not have the normal dose of immunotherapy.

He added: He added: “Because of my illness, I had to start with a lower dose. If I didn’t have Crohn’s disease, I would have had combined immunotherapy.

“The lowest dose caused a Crohn’s flare and I had a bowel obstruction and felt a lot of pain.

“I had to go on a liquid diet for four weeks, which wasn’t ideal because it was just when restaurants were starting to reopen.”

The treatment continued to trigger his Crohn’s disease and Elliot had to be taken in to have an ostomy bag fitted.

“It was a planned operation and I was not allowed visitors,” he said.

“I have a lot of supportive people around me and my girlfriend Courtney is awesome, so I’m lucky.

“I’ve gotten used to living with the stoma and although it’s reversible, I don’t want to reverse it to avoid complications in the future.”

Although the bag was difficult to get used to, Elliiot said it helped ease some of the pain he suffered from Crohn’s disease.

At first I could only do a few laps around the room – but I got there slowly. It has now been more than a year since this operation

Eliot Simpson

During his treatment, Elliot faced setbacks in the form of infections.

He added: “I basically have to learn to walk again.

“The physio came from time to time and I was in so much pain.

“At first I could only do a few laps around the serve, but I got there slowly. It’s now been over a year since that operation.

But Elliot says that’s not his biggest setback, who he says is fighting for the funding he needs.

The student says he and his family need to raise £120,000 for two different types of treatment for which NHS funding has not been approved.

Elliot said NHS doctors were fighting to get him the treatment he needed, but ultimately the decision was up to NICE.

“The treatment I need is combination immunotherapy which is ipilimumab plus nivolumab.

“After finding out that the NHS would not fund the treatment the doctors wanted me to receive, they appealed this decision by sending an individual funding request backed by top oncologists at Preston Hospital and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

“It was a long process but was finally refused because the rules are very rigid.

“Kate Hollern, MP for Blackburn, asked new Health Secretary Steve Barclay in parliament if he would join Kate, my parents and me at a meeting about it, which he agreed to when he resumed of parliament in September.


“I’m not just doing this for me, I’m fighting for everyone in my situation,” he said.

“I feel like I’m being punished for having Crohn’s disease.

“I just can’t understand how devastating this is for my mum and dad, they shouldn’t have to sell their house to pay for this.”

“I have a hard time expressing my emotions.

“We shouldn’t worry about funding, we should just worry about my health,” he added.

Elliot and his family have organized a host of events including raffles and charity football games.

“I have a hard time expressing my emotions.

“We shouldn’t worry about funding, we should just worry about my health,” he added.

While Elliot is determined to raise funds for the lifesaving treatment, he also wants to educate others about the signs of melanoma.

He said, “If you have any doubt, go and have it checked.”

“I wasn’t really someone who spent a lot of time in the sun because I’m redhead – so five minutes would be enough for me.

“I’ve only been on a tanning bed a handful of times and that’s what happened to me.

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“Even if it’s just a small mark, go get it checked out,” he added.

You can donate to Elliot’s GoFundMe page here and you can learn more about his journey from his YouTube video.

Elliot was left with a large scar on the back of his head after having the melanoma removed


Elliot was left with a large scar on the back of his head after having the melanoma removed1 credit

I thought I just had a mole on my head – now I’m learning to walk again

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