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Testicular cancer survivor celebrates the birth of his ‘miracle’ baby

A twin who was told he was infertile after being diagnosed with testicular cancer within just days of his brother is celebrating the birth of his ‘miracle’ baby.

Sean Collard and his twin Ryan were given the devastating news they both had the same condition in 2017 in a cruel twist of fate that left them both believing they were unable to have children.

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The office worker, of Hetton, Tyne and Wear, was told by doctors that he had been left infertile after undergoing vigorous chemotherapy, and had accepted that he may never fulfil his dreams of being a father.

But now the 26-year-old has welcomed his newborn son, Lucas, on September 15, after his partner of five years Sophie Campbell fell unexpectedly pregnant just 14 months after he was given the all clear.

A twin who was told he was infertile after being diagnosed with testicular cancer within just days of his brother is celebrating the birth of his ‘miracle’ baby. Pictured, Sean Collard with his partner of five years Sophie Campbell and their newborn

Sean Collard and his twin Ryan (pictured left to right) were given the devastating news they both had the same condition in 2017 in a cruel twist of fate that left them both believing they were unable to have children

Sean Collard and his twin Ryan (pictured left to right) were given the devastating news they both had the same condition in 2017 in a cruel twist of fate that left them both believing they were unable to have children

The office worker (pictured with his newborn), of Hetton, Tyne and Wear, was told by doctors that he had been left infertile after undergoing vigorous chemotherapy, and had accepted that he may never fulfil his dreams of being a father

The office worker (pictured with his newborn), of Hetton, Tyne and Wear, was told by doctors that he had been left infertile after undergoing vigorous chemotherapy, and had accepted that he may never fulfil his dreams of being a father

Sean said: ‘Becoming a dad is the best feeling ever. There was a time when I never thought I’d be able to have a family but Lucas is our little miracle.

‘Finding out was a huge shock but at the same time it was great news. I was told that my fertility could possibly come back at some point but it was so early that I hadn’t yet had the test to determine it.’

The family’s nightmare with cancer began in September 2017 when Ryan, a primary school teacher, started experiencing blackouts.

The diagnosis came at such a late stage that he started chemotherapy near his home in London the very next day and didn’t have the opportunity to bank any of his sperm.

It was while visiting his brother in hospital in London that Sean started experiencing symptoms himself, and just 20 days later he received the terrible news that he too had cancer.

But now the 26-year-old has welcomed his newborn son, Lucas, on September 15, after his partner of five years Sophie Campbell fell unexpectedly pregnant just 14 months after he was given the all clear. Pictured, Sean visiting Ryan in hospital

But now the 26-year-old has welcomed his newborn son, Lucas, on September 15, after his partner of five years Sophie Campbell fell unexpectedly pregnant just 14 months after he was given the all clear. Pictured, Sean visiting Ryan in hospital

Sean (pictured left with Ryan) said: 'Becoming a dad is the best feeling ever. There was a time when I never thought I'd be able to have a family but Lucas is our little miracle'

Sean (pictured left with Ryan) said: ‘Becoming a dad is the best feeling ever. There was a time when I never thought I’d be able to have a family but Lucas is our little miracle’

‘It was just an horrendous time for both of us,’ said Sean. ‘My cancer was caught at an early stage so it looked a lot bleaker for Ryan and he had to have stem cell treatment, but we got through it together.’

Sean was able to bank sperm before starting treatment – but hasn’t had to use it and has since offered to be a donor for his twin, though Ryan and his girlfriend Sophie Huggett are currently undecided about their future family plans.

‘It is bittersweet because Ryan loves kids and he would love to be a dad himself, but his fertility hasn’t returned and we don’t know if it ever will,’ said Sean.

‘Initially once you’ve had treatment you are infertile and there’s a risk that fertility won’t come back.

The family's nightmare with cancer began in September 2017 when Ryan, a primary school teacher, started experiencing blackouts. Pictured, Sean with Lucas

The family’s nightmare with cancer began in September 2017 when Ryan, a primary school teacher, started experiencing blackouts. Pictured, Sean with Lucas

The diagnosis came at such a late stage that he started chemotherapy near his home in London the very next day and didn't have the opportunity to bank any of his sperm. Pictured, Sean, Lucas and Sophie

The diagnosis came at such a late stage that he started chemotherapy near his home in London the very next day and didn’t have the opportunity to bank any of his sperm. Pictured, Sean, Lucas and Sophie

It was while visiting his brother in hospital in London that Sean started experiencing symptoms himself, and just 20 days later he received the terrible news that he too had cancer. Pictured, Sean, Sophie and Lucas

It was while visiting his brother in hospital in London that Sean started experiencing symptoms himself, and just 20 days later he received the terrible news that he too had cancer. Pictured, Sean, Sophie and Lucas

‘That was massively scary for me. I’ve always wanted to have a family and Ryan and I both grew up wanting what our parents had with us.

‘Aside from hearing that you can’t be cured, being told you can’t have kids is one of the biggest worries. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

‘I know I had frozen my sperm but you only get two free goes on the NHS and if it hadn’t worked it would have been expensive. We had no guarantees we would had been successful.’

Tragically, Sophie, 25, who is unemployed, experienced a miscarriage in 2019, and the couple feared that damaged sperm could have been the cause.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF TESTICULAR CANCER?

During the early stages, testicular cancer typically presents as a hard lump or swelling in a testis. 

The lump is usually painless and can vary considerably in size but is typically the size of a pea and located on the front or side of the testicle.

Not all individuals with testicular cancer will present with a lump in their testicles. 

  • Any enlargement or change in the way the testicle looks or feels
  • A sensation of heaviness in the scrotum 
  • A dull ache in the testicle, lower abdomen (stomach) or groin region 
  • A collection of fluid in the scrotum. 

Symptoms can be subtle and therefore easily missed which is why it is so important to familiarise yourself with how your testicles feel when they are healthy.

If the cancer is not detected early, it may spread to other parts of the body and you may develop symptoms in parts of the body other than the affected testicle.

These include:

  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath 
  • A decreased libido 
  • Fatigue 
  • A cough
  • Swelling and tenderness in the chest  

However the good news is testicular cancer is very treatable, with around a 95 per cent cure rate. 

Source: The Josh Carrick Foundation 

Sean (left) was able to bank sperm before starting treatment - but hasn't had to use it and has since offered to be a donor for his twin, though Ryan (right) and his girlfriend Sophie Huggett are currently undecided about their future family plans

Sean (left) was able to bank sperm before starting treatment – but hasn’t had to use it and has since offered to be a donor for his twin, though Ryan (right) and his girlfriend Sophie Huggett are currently undecided about their future family plans

'It is bittersweet because Ryan loves kids and he would love to be a dad himself, but his fertility hasn't returned and we don't know if it ever will,' said Sean. Pictured, Ryan in hospital

‘It is bittersweet because Ryan loves kids and he would love to be a dad himself, but his fertility hasn’t returned and we don’t know if it ever will,’ said Sean. Pictured, Ryan in hospital

‘Luckily we didn’t have to go down the road of IVF because we conceived again naturally, but I’d have done whatever it takes,’ Sean added.

Lucas arrived weighing a healthy 7lb 5oz on September 15, though it wasn’t until a day later that Sean was finally allowed to meet his son because of coronavirus restrictions in Sunderland Royal Hospital.

‘It was overwhelming to hold him,’ said Sean. ‘He was absolutely perfect and I’m still on a high. It’s just an incredible feeling. I want to start trying for more straight away, though I don’t know what Sophie would have to say about that.’

In 2019 Sean and Ryan set up a charity called Cancer Lads to raise awareness of testicular cancer and encourage men to check for symptoms.

Tragically, Sophie, 25, who is unemployed, experienced a miscarriage in 2019, and the couple feared that damaged sperm could have been the cause. Sean pictured with Ryan, right

Tragically, Sophie, 25, who is unemployed, experienced a miscarriage in 2019, and the couple feared that damaged sperm could have been the cause. Sean pictured with Ryan, right

'Luckily we didn't have to go down the road of IVF because we conceived again naturally, but I'd have done whatever it takes,' Sean (pictured with his mother and brother) added

‘Luckily we didn’t have to go down the road of IVF because we conceived again naturally, but I’d have done whatever it takes,’ Sean (pictured with his mother and brother) added

In 2019 Sean and Ryan (pictured together) set up a charity called Cancer Lads to raise awareness of testicular cancer and encourage men to check for symptoms

In 2019 Sean and Ryan (pictured together) set up a charity called Cancer Lads to raise awareness of testicular cancer and encourage men to check for symptoms

And it’s something that Sean is painfully aware of after having a son himself.

He said: ‘It’s been fantastic for us to have a little boy but I’m always going to worry, especially with Ryan and me both getting it, it’s obviously a strong gene.

‘It’s something I’ll speak to the specialists about and when Lucas is older we’ll have that conversation.’

Now Sean is looking forward to Ryan being able to visit baby Lucas once coronavirus restrictions are relaxed.

‘Ryan is going to be the best uncle ever,’ he said. ‘Seeing them together is going to be incredible.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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