SINCE leading Branksome Railway on their maiden voyage in the FA Sunday Cup, boss Ian Colmer’s life has been turned upside-down.

In the weeks between guiding Railway to third and fourth round victories earlier this season, Ian was diagnosed with double testicular cancer.

“The cup run has been excellent for the club but also for me because it has helped me forget,” said Ian, speaking ahead of Railway’s quarter-final against The Plough Wellington at Wimborne’s Cuthbury on Sunday.

“Once it had been confirmed, I told all the players after a game and broke down in the clubhouse. I apologised to them and they have all been incredible. I love them to bits.”

Ian, a father to four teenage daughters, added: “I was in the bath one day and felt an abnormality in my left testicle. I was ignorant and just shrugged it off. I didn’t really pay much attention to it and thought it would go. But it was still there a week or so later and I did some research on the Internet. It was frightening.

“I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do but I kept it to myself for about three weeks before eventually telling my wife.

“I saw a specialist in Weymouth and, even from a touch examination, he was under no illusion that my left testicle was riddled with cancer. He didn’t mess around and I was immediately sent for a scan before having surgery three days later. I was shocked but impressed at the same time.

“They then found tumours on my right testicle, which was a massive double whammy. I felt like I had been smacked in the face twice and the alarm bells were ringing in my head. I went from thinking I had an ulcer to being told I had double testicular cancer. It was a massive shock to me and my wife, we were both speechless.”

Ian, who lives with wife Sam in Milton Abbas, was sent for a full body scan to ascertain whether the cancer had spread: “They wanted me to have it done immediately but I wanted to go home and take stock of what I had just been told. It was my decision to wait three days and they were the worst three days of my life.

“Fortunately, they were 99 per cent certain it hadn’t spread. That was a huge relief and I almost forgot I had testicular cancer for 24 hours because the fear it could have spread was horrible.”

Tanker driver Ian, who has been signed off work, is currently awaiting the results of a biopsy on his right testicle before a decision is made on the next course of treatment. His options are likely to be chemotherapy or partial or full removal.

“I am very fortunate to have the family I have,” said Ian. “My wife, my children and everybody at Branksome Railway have galvanised me. This has brought the family together and put a different perspective on life for me. I just want to thank everybody.

“People ignore stuff and think things won’t happen to them. I certainly did. I would urge everybody to just take two minutes to check. Don’t be afraid to find something and don’t be afraid to go to the doctor. It is neither embarrassing nor wrong.

“If you find anything then have the courage to go to the doctor and ask the questions. Nobody made me feel uncomfortable and my treatment has been exceptional. I was blessed that it hadn’t spread and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am thankful it was caught, although it should have been a lot earlier but that was down to me.”

Ian will lead Branksome Railway when they bid to book a place in the semi-final of the FA Sunday Cup by seeing off The Plough at Wimborne on Sunday (2pm kick-off). Cost of entry is £2 to adults, while under-16s are free.

  • Information and advice on testicular cancer can be found here