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Former soldier now has cancer

By West Briton  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

  • Ronnie Best at his home in St. Ives. PZGM20140812D-005_C

  • Ronnie at his home in St Ives. He began abusing drugs after his father died.

  • Ronnie Best at his home in St. Ives. PZGM20140812D-001_C

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RONNIE BEST, 64, lives in St Ives. A former drug user, he has recently been diagnosed with liver cancer as a result of his hepatitis C.

He will be one of the first people to take part in the pilot and will benefit from the buddying programme.

As a young man, Ronnie joined the Army and served in Northern Ireland. He left when he was 24 and moved to Cornwall to start a new life, but his new life was rocked when his father died, marking a particularly dark time for Ronnie. It was at this time that he started to take drugs.

After a spell in prison, he decided that he wanted to turn his life around and started rehab.

In 2002 Ronnie was working as a night support worker for a drug and alcohol centre when he began suffering from stomach problems.

His employer advised that he see a doctor. Ronnie went to the Well Man's clinic, where he was diagnosed with hepatitis C.

Ronnie immediately started treatment, which made him so unwell that he had to retire from his job. He found the treatment difficult and after two unsuccessful attempts he gave up. Side- effects of the medication included nausea, hair loss, night sweats, loss of appetite and mood swings.

Ronnie has now discovered that he has tumours on his liver as a result of hepatitis C and has undergone a course of chemotherapy.

He says this has been challenging for him and he has felt unsupported throughout his illness.

"As I rely on public transport, it can be quite difficult to get to medical appointments," he said.

"It'll be such a great support to have a buddy there to bring me to the hospital and explain my results or remind me to pick up my prescriptions."

Ronnie says he believes this programme will have a positive effect on his life and he will finally get the support he needs as he continues on his treatment pathway.

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