Cancer survivor’s novel idea for charity that saved his life

Cancer survivor’s novel idea for charity that saved his life

On 23 November 2010, Simon Hawkins and his wife Penny Ericson were given the news that he had metastasised secondary cancer and had, at best, 18 months to live. There was the possibility of a life-prolonging operation but his chances of being fit enough to survive the invasive procedure were considered minimal.

Despite long odds and somehow overcoming usually fatal sepsis, Simon is alive today.

The fact the Simon has survived is down to the extraordinary skill of surgeons at the Hampshire Clinic and North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke who in May 2012 performed a 12-hour operation. The procedure involved removing his gall bladder, duodenum, right kidney and half his pancreas as well as reconstruction of a new duodenum, seven delicate new joins to his stomach and bowel and liver resection. It was a world first and only made possible by the work of the Pelican Cancer Foundation in Basingstoke.

Almost two years after the operation Simon’s recuperation continues under the beady eyes of his surgeons. He was clear of cancer when his last scan took place in October 2013. Now Simon and Penny want to give something back and have started a campaign called Live Well 4 Longer.

Live Well 4 Longer is raising funds for Pelican to help them continue their amazing work. More than 20 of Hampshire restaurants and food producers have committed to support the scheme and will, over the next year, be holding fund-raising activities.

Simon is also determined to do his bit and literally came up with a novel idea. He has written a thriller called Proteus that is set in Gerrards Cross. It is great fun and available on Kindle for £1.99. All the profits from the book are going to Live Well 4 Longer.

Simon says, “I cannot convey in words just how much I owe Pelican and their amazing surgeons – the word everything really doesn’t go far enough! Starting Live Well 4 Longer went some of the way but I wanted to do something personally.

“I am no Charles Dickens – I just want people to have a little bit of fun and relaxation. So just settle back and enjoy and don’t take Proteus too seriously. It was so strange I woke up one day with the plot in my head and just started writing. It must have been the drugs as I was on some pretty heavy medication at the time!”

Penny is no stranger to writing books. She is already the author of Chemo Cookery Club a recipe book for people suffering with cancer and their carers, which was published in April 2013. This was quickly followed by a mini recipe book Penny wrote for the Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai called Around the kitchen table, a recipe book for breast cancer sufferers which is available free from Maggies Centres and online. Penny has two new books in the pipeline, which are to be published in June and July. More information will follow.

Both Simon and Penny are available for interview. Please call either number above or e-mail. Photographs are available.
About Proteus

Gerrards Cross is a pleasant, suburban town on the borders of London situated in the heart of leafy Buckinghamshire. A commuter town, it is repeatedly voted one of the best places in England to live. It also boasts more millionaires than any other town. This domestic bliss is about to be blown apart by acts of sheer savagery and violence as the residents of this outwardly perfect community are stalked by a deadly assassin who kills for a living and is very good at it. As the death toll rises the police find themselves increasingly baffled.

Who is responsible? Who is paying? Their main suspect is Michael Defreitas but how can he have done it, given that he’s dead?

Proteus is the powerful story of the aftermath of a huge financial scandal. Michael Defreitas ran a seemingly successful fund that attracted investments by offering high returns but the fund is a fraud, a Ponzi scheme that has some very murky investors who want their money back.

When the headless body of Defreitas is found on the common in Gerrards Cross, Old Etonian DCI Tom Sparks is the detective put in charge of unraveling the complicated case that takes him from the upper echelons of society in Gerrards Cross to the City, the financial heart of London, and even the Costa Del Sol.

Full of twists and turns the story is not resolved until the final page. Gerrards Cross will never be the same again…

About the author

Simon Hawkins was born in Devizes on 5 February 1956 to parents John and Peggy. John was a director of Wadworth brewery for many years after a distinguished duty for the Fleet Air Arm during the World War II. Simon was educated at Millfield School in Somerset before becoming a golf professional in 1974.

Simon left golf in 1977 and worked in Insurance before obtaining a degree in property from the Southampton and Solent University. Armed with his newly earned BA (Hons) Simon embarked on a career in property development first with Linden and then on his own. Initially successful he was a victim of the interest rate mis-selling scandal when he lost his fortune.

At the same time Simon fell seriously ill with cancer and endured three tours of chemotherapy and two lengthy operations – defying death on more than once, to the amazement of his physicians. Still a keen golfer, Simon is returning gradually to a normal life and when not working as Penny’s unofficial PA, is working on his new book Guts – is a fictionalized version of his experiences over the past six years.

To interview Simon, e-mail [email protected] or call +44 (0)754 773 4111.
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Media enquiries
Repertoire Food and Design Limited -
Penny Ericson / Simon Hawkins
+44 (0)772 555 0889; +44 (0)754 773 4111
[email protected] [email protected]

Embargoed until: 00.01 GMT 16 April 2014

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Live Well 4 Longer, on Wednesday 16 April, 2014. For more information subscribe and follow

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