A 32-year-old man had his leg amputated last week after his cancer returned - now his friends have set up a fundraiser to help him accommodate his disability.
He now plans to move back to Northampton with his mum, following a series of unfortunate events that started with the diagnosis of a 'verruca' in 2015 and ended with the amputation of his lower leg last Thursday (December 16).
Simon said: "Its a massive change, I'll be bed bound for the next few weeks while healing, while needing to use assistant tools to use facilities around the house.
"On top of that, I will need to adapt to a new way of driving with an automatic car but with a left foot accelerator.
"Beyond all of this though, my mental health has been impacted with a different perception of my body and my comfort inside myself as its a major transformation and I will need to learn to grow and love it again, without considering others' perception of me."
Simon went to a walk-in clinic in 2015 after he had been experiencing some pain in his big toe. His doctor diagnosed a verruca and Simon was prescribed verruca treatment and was told to go see his GP if it did not go away.
After months of attempting to treat the verruca at home, Simon went to his GP, who reaffirmed the verruca but said that it had become infected so Simon was prescribed anti-biotics and referred to a podiatrist for a freeze removal. The podiatrist told him that the wound was 'too smooth' to be a verruca and referred him to an oncologist.
A biopsy and PET scan confirmed that Simon had Epithelioid Sarcoma in November 2015 - a rare type of soft tissue cancer.
The decision was taken to remove Simon's toe in full and the operation was completed in January 2016.
A subsequent PET scan showed an uptake in his thyroid at the time but the biopsy came back with a non-result. Simon had a partial thyroidectomy in 2017 to ensure nothing more came of the uptake.
Simon's place of work - the IKEA warehouse in Coventry - closed down in 2020 and he was unfortunately made redundant.
When he was helping them to close down, Simon began to notice a pain in his foot and returned to the doctors in March. He was referred to a podiatrist but they had to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Simon booked an appointment privately and several diagnoses from different podiatrists. The public podiatrist assumed it was Plantar Fascitis, which is a condition that causes pain on the bottom of the foot, around the heel and arch. The private podiatrist thought it was an overpulled Anterior Tibialis muscle located near the shin and said Simon should push for an ultrasound.
Following an ultrasound, MRI scan and another biopsy, it was confirmed that Simon's Epithelioid Sarcoma had sadly returned.
The best way for sarcomas to be dealt with is through cutting the bad issue cells out of the body, taking an inch either side of the healthy cells. The location of the sarcoma in Simon's foot, however, left doctors with no choice but to remove Simon's entire lower leg.
This surgery went ahead last Thursday on December 16.
Simon is currently recovering well in hospital but is not allowed any visitors due to Covid-19.
He hopes to be released in time for his thirty-third birthday on December 21 so he can celebrate with loved ones and so he can spend Christmas at his brother's house surrounded by family. He remains in 'good spirits' and friends and family have called him an 'inspiration.'
Simon will now need to use a wheelchair until he is healthy enough to use a prosthetic leg.
He will also need to sell his manual car and buy an accessible car then sell his house and move into a bungalow.
Simon's close friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help him to stay afloat and contribute towards his future living costs.
One of those friends, Laura Tilly Moss, said: "The fundraiser was set up by my colleague, Elisha Dignam. We did not tell him at first because we wanted it to be a nice surprise for him. I thought it was an amazing idea so we clubbed together to reach out to newspapers and get the word out about it.
"Simon's such a good, positive and fun guy. He's got lots of friends all over the place. He travels a lot to go to music festivals all around the world so he's got friends everywhere, who want to help him.
"He really did not deserve what happened to him. The more support he can get the better. He needs to move into a bungalow so he can care for his mother as well, who has MS and arthritis, so it will be easier on him and easier on her too."
Laura added: "He has just been so positive throughout this whole thing, he's always in a good mood and never puts a downer on things. We are just determined to help him as much as possible.
"It is not about the money for him but it is about raising awareness - if you think something is wrong, get it checked out. He pushed and pushed and, only then, did he get his diagnosis."
If you want to donate to Simon's GoFundMe page, visit https://gofund.me/db373c73