A dad's world came "crashing down" after a shock cancer diagnosis followed a routine dental appointment. Paul Doherty, known as 'Doc' to his loved ones, had what he thought was a mouth ulcer when he went for a check-up.
But what followed was every family's worst nightmare - Paul was diagnosed with oral carcinoma, or mouth cancer, after being referred to hospital by his dentist. Immediately, the 48-year-old underwent major surgery in which part of his tongue and lymph nodes in his neck were removed.
Since then, he has had to learn how to talk again after having a tracheostomy, a surgically created hole in the windpipe that provides an alternative way to breathe.
The consequences have been devastating for Paul's family, who have had to see their "outgoing and kind-hearted" dad and husband fight to recover.
A fundraiser for the family has been set up, as construction worker Paul brought in their only income. Set up by family friend Laura O'Neil, it has so far raised nearly £5,000 for the family, with the money intended to go towards transport to QE Hospital and support until self-employed Paul can work again.
Writing on the £5,000 GoFundMe page she set up for the family, Laura said, "Recently he took a trip to the dentist who referred him to the hospital. [After] weeks of anxiously waiting for the results…unfortunately the dreaded news came."
Paul is now learning to talk again. Laura explained: "He is currently learning to talk through his tracheostomy, he has been so brave and has kept his spirits up but he has a long road to recovery and a hell of a lot of fighting to do before the end.
"So we have decided to try to take a tiny amount of pressure away from him and his family and try and raise some money to pay things such as transport to and from the QE hospital as his partner does not drive, and food and bills. Doc's wages are the main income to the family house and as he will not be able to work for the foreseeable future"
Paul's wife Sam said said she was "very grateful" for the support. She added: "You never think it will happen to you and then the added pressure of being self-employed puts even more pressure on."