UNISON’s Tom Hart has become the face of a lung cancer awareness campaign in Scotland, starring in a film with Sir Alex Ferguson.
Tom’s own cancer was diagnosed five years ago after he went to the doctor’s with a persistent cough.
Now, he says: “It’s important people get checked if they have any symptoms. Hopefully it won’t be cancer, but if it is, the sooner the treatment begins the better.”
Tom, a senior steward at UNISON’s Forth Valley health branch, recalls: “My wife gave me a bit of stick about getting a persistent cough I’d had for around five weeks checked out.
“Our daughter, Emma, was getting married and we were going on holiday after that so I didn’t want to put a spanner in the works.”
It was a shock when doctors discovered a tumour in his right lung, but the fact that it was detected early meant it could be successfully treated, as were two smaller tumours that developed later.”
And now he’s featuring in the promotional film for the lunch cancer awareness month, which runs throughout November, as part of the Scottish government’s Detect Cancer Early campaign.
The campaign is fronted by Sir Alex, the former Scotland, Aberdeen and Manchester United football manager – and player with Tom’s team Dunfermline Athletic – who lost his own parents to the disease.
The film features the two of them meeting in a Glasgow cafe, where Sir Alex praises Tom for “setting a great example to everyone in Scotland” by speaking about his experience.
But, as Tom says: “You never know what tomorrow will bring.
“I never thought for a moment, for example, I would be meeting Sir Alex Ferguson for a cuppa in Govan. As a life-long Dunfermline fan that was a real honour.”