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Midkent College students help Upper Fant Road cancer sufferer.

He spent 30 years fighting fires and rescuing people – now cancer has robbed Roger Berriman of the ability to climb the stairs in his own home.

The 74-year-old, of Upper Fant Road, Maidstone, was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago thanks to the nose of Eima, his now deceased German Shepherd.

Mr Berriman, who has lived in Maidstone for 10 years, was completely unaware he had the condition but became worried after his dog started continually sniffing his pelvis.

Roger Berriman with his dog Eima, who smelt he had prostate cancer
Roger Berriman with his dog Eima, who smelt he had prostate cancer

When tests revealed his prostate was riddled with cancer intensive treatment followed.

He went into remisssion but there was more bad news – he had incurable leukaemia. The condition has forced him to spend the last two years living downstairs, with his lounge becoming a makeshift bedroom.

Some renovations have been made to the property, a wood burner has been fitted in place of a gas fire and the room has been skimmed. But the job remains incomplete.

Roger Berriman suffers from leukaemia.
Roger Berriman suffers from leukaemia.

However, that is about to change thanks to students at MidKent College, who are giving up their time to wallpaper his walls and repaint the ceiling.

Mr Berriman said: “I don’t know how long I’ve got and to be honest I don’t want to know.

“I’ve asked the doctors not to tell me because if I knew it would be like being on death row.

“I try to do as much as I can, it’s important to keep busy, but the disease often leaves me out of breath and feeling cold.

“It’s nice of the college to offer to do this. I would never ask for it myself, I don’t claim any benefits.

“A nurse at the Vine Medical Centre suggested I should ask for support and helped me fill out some forms.

“I suppose it’s good for both of us – the students get on-the-job experience and my life gets more comfortable. I really can’t thank them enough.”

The renovation was been organised by Macmillan Volunteers West Kent.

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