AS George Robinson lay in a hospital bed receiving treatment for a brain tumour one of the few things that kept him going was his girlfirend Kirsty Dixon.
Her support and encouragement, together with that of his family, mum Julie, dad Tony and sisters Leyanne, 31, and 20-year-old Becky, helped him through the many dark days.
I was on the high dependency ward and was not allowed a phone, so I had to buzz for a nurse to get permission to phone my dad and I told him my plan to proposeGeorge Robinson
And so grateful was George, he decided to propose to her, but needed the help of his dad, Tony, to plot the romantic surprise.
The 21-year-old from Ashton was diagnosed with a brain tumour in May last year after suffering severe headaches.
He underwent four operations at Salford Royal Hospital and spent days in a high dependency unit, where he survived a bout of meningitis.
But the thought that kept him going was his 25-year-old Kirsty.
He said: “I was on the high dependency ward and was not allowed a phone, so I had to buzz for a nurse to get permission to phone my dad and I told him my plan to propose.
“He questioned whether it was the right time but I knew it was, so he went out and bought a ring from a jewellers in Warrington. When Kirsty came to visit me I tried to hide the ring behind a teddy she bought me, but she knew I was hiding something,
“She knew what was coming and I asked her if she would marry me. She was in tears and was nodding. She gave me a big hug - it was really special.
“We were so caught up in the moment, I forgot to bring my dad back in as he left the room to give us space.”
The pair, who met when they both worked as receptionist at Ashton Clinic, in Queens Road married in April this year with an intimate ceremony at Holiday Inn, in Haydock.
George is now making a steady recovery after being treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy at The Christie,
He is receiving chemotherapy in tablet form and visits The Christie once a month for check-ups.His latest scan shows the tumour has gone – 12 months after he started the course of chemotherapy.
The former St Helens College student is now in remission, and while doctors have warned him that microscopic traces of the tumour may still remain because they cannot be detected by a scan, he is convinced he has beaten the cancer.
He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. The doctors tell me there may be tiny traces of the tumour there, but in my own mind it’s gone. It’s still sinking in – in fact it probably won’t sink in for some time.
“After taking my tablets that’s me done. I can just get on with my life. I had no idea you could take chemotherapy in tablets. There are some side-effects – I sometimes feel sick, without ever actually being sick, and I do feel tired as well, but I don’t have to spend hours on a ward. It’s much easier than I ever thought it would be.”
While he has not yet returned to full-time work, the tablet chemotherapy regime gives George greater freedom and he has taken up part-time work as a volunteer at Age UK in Ashton.
He is now looking to the future and plans to return to college to study electrical engineering when he has completed his treatment.
He said: “There was a time when the radiotherapy was not working and it hit us hard. I started to change my diet and I became a vegan and it has helped.
“Now we are looking to the future and I aim to go to college after my chemotherapy has finished.”