A MAN who was told he would not survive cancer has climbed the O2 Arena.

After collapsing at his home in 2011, 50-year-old Simon Mace, from Cowley, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He was paralysed from the waist down and was told he would not survive, let alone walk again, but he has managed to prove doctors wrong.

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Mr Mace braved new heights last month by climbing the roof of the O2 in London which is 52 metres above ground level at its highest point - the equivalent of nearly four buses.

The former British Airways cabin crew member took on the challenge to raise awareness of the importance of exercise in cancer prevention and treatment.

Mr Mace said: “It seemed unlikely that I would live to see the New Year. I made a commitment to myself that I would push myself as hard as I could, and I would at some point leave a wheelchair regardless of how bad my mobility was.


“After a 51-week battle, almost 20 operations at this point and 15 cycles of chemotherapy, I eventually went home in September 2012. This is where my battle really started. My journey through cancer and recovery had to be for a purpose.”

Oxford Brookes University has helped with Mr Mace’s recovery, where he received long-term rehabilitation, including exercise therapy sessions which turned into training sessions and now he is able to do most exercises.

On the day of the climb, Mr Mace was joined by his rehab team from Oxford Brookes who helped him every step of the way.

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In a bid to raise awareness for charity too, young people and families supported by CLIC Sargent, a cancer charity for children and young people, also took on the climb.

Mr Mace said: “The climb was very hard work and certainly challenged my physical capabilities, but it was a goal I never thought I would achieve and has proved to me that opportunities now and in the future are possible for me.


“I couldn’t have done what I’ve achieved without the input of Oxford Brookes University who supported me as I worked very hard over the months and years to learn to walk again."

Mr Mace has since worked with students at Oxford Brookes who will eventually interact with patients who have had similar experiences and he advises on research projects around the topic of cancer and rehab.

He is looking forward to joining CLIC Sargent and helping young people with cancer as a volunteer.

Dr Peter Wright, programme lead at Sport and Coaching Sciences at Oxford Brookes University says he is 'confident' Mr Mace will return to work after his rehabilitation.