Man thanks family of County Durham student who died of skin cancer for saving his life

The family of a 20-year-old man who died of skin cancer have been thanked by a stranger, who saw their sons story and was diagnosed with the disease.

Tom Linton, from County Durham, died in 2020 from melanoma.

His dying wish was for his parents Amanda and Steve and twin sister Hannah to share his story and raise awareness about the disease.

The Linton family

In February 2022 his mother Amanda Linton spoke to ITV Tyne Tees and urged people to be aware of skin cancer.

Among those to see the report was Alan Graham, from Lowestoft near Great Yarmouth.

He had a dark and large mole under his ribs which he asked a nurse to look at and was then referred to a doctor. He was diagnosed with stage one melanoma and had an operation to remove it.

He says if it was not for Tom's story he would not have got it checked and has thanked Tom's family.

Alan Graham with wife Sharon

Mr Graham said: "Within two weeks of speaking to a doctor I was being operated on and then six weeks later, they did the second operation to get the last bit. We caught it really early which was a good thing. "

Mr Graham said he thought the Linton family were brave and brilliant for sharing Tom's story. He added: "If it helps one person, which it has, then his death is not in vain. It could have saved my life, if I left it it could have got worse and then become incurable."

Tom Linton's mum Amanda said: "It helps is push on. It's like we couldn't help Tom, the cancer was advanced but he wanted to us make sure no one else got in that position. He wanted to help others."

Mrs Linton was speaking at Tom's Fest, a festival set up in memory of her son. It's taking place on the third anniversary of Tom's death and is fundraising for Gateshead based charity Melanoma-Me.

Tom's Fest in Chester-le-Street Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Tom's father Steven Linton said: It is his anniversary today and we could be sitting in the house, we could be moping but we are here and trying to make a difference."

The event now in its second year takes place on the playing fields of Tom's former school Park View.

Kerry Prudhoe , founder of Melanoma-Me said: "At 20-years-old the courage and kindness of Tom still brings me to tears. To be so selfless when faced with what Tom was, I know makes Amanda, Steven and Hannah so proud."

"I knew the day I met the Linton’s that I wanted to help in some way to fulfil Tom’s legacy. So with the Lintons support, we started planning our first ever musical festival in Tom’s memory. The reason we chose a festival was because we knew it would attract a lot of young people and we could raise awareness incidentally in this setting."

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