Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Leroy Duffus, 50, community worker, London

''Now I have come to terms with my illness, I have managed to alter the way I think about life. For example, I now plan six months ahead, rather than six years.”


“It was back in 2013 that I first noticed a swelling on my face – but you know what men can be like, I just ignored it, thinking it would go away. It was only when people started to notice it that I thought I should go and see my GP. My doctor actually referred me to a dentist who then told me to go straight to the hospital. Reflecting back, my dentist must have known what it was.

“I am a positive person by nature, so I don’t want to dwell on the negatives. I do a lot of community work in youth clubs and schools mainly with young people, from around 14 to 19 years old, who are not in education or employment and can’t seem to find their place in the system. I try to find something that will work for them – it might be an apprenticeship or a scheme, everybody needs a bit of luck and encouragement, and I hope that in any small way I can provide that for them. Once I even took an under-achieving school from Peckham out to Jamaica to stay at a university out there. I think it is so important to provide strong black role models, not just rappers and musicians, but scientists and business people, too.

“Now I have come to terms with my illness, I have managed to alter the way I think about life. For example, I now plan six months ahead, rather than six years. This whole issue has affected my lifestyle, my wife and two children – family and friends – but after so long I have learned how to live with it. I now to speak to others, help out, give support, and fundraise for Sarcoma UK. I would love to film my story to inspire others, and let people know that they can be positive, no matter what happens. I am also planning to start my own family-run business, maybe a cafĂ© or shop. I like the idea of creating a hub of the family, where people can come together and meet – and where I can also help other young people in my situation. I want to create something that will continue to generate income and that my children can become a part of too. You never know, maybe we’ll even call it Leroy’s Place…”


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