Father of two and motorbike enthisiast Laine first came on board as a media volunteer in 2017, about six years after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was part of a trial testing a new immunotherapy drug.
Since then he has supported Cancer Research UK by sharing his story with local media. Just after becoming a media volunteer, Laine featured on our social media posts around International Clinical Trials Day. He also appears on our research pages and as part of our Corporate Document, helping us to secure vital funding from corporate partners.
Laine was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2011. That summer, he’d started to feel increasingly exhausted and his stomach swelled dramatically: “I was left looking like Homer Simpson,” he says.
Laine’s doctor sent him for tests and an ultrasound, which confirmed he had cancer. He started treatment the following day.
After six unsuccessful rounds of chemotherapy, the doctors recommended a stem-cell transplant. “I was kept in isolation in hospital while they effectively killed off my immune system to destroy the cancer cells,” Laine explains. “It was tough, but I got through it.”
However, despite feeling well enough to return to work, Laine’s cancer was still not under control, so he was recommended for a CRUK-led clinical trial for a new drug that would turn the immune system against cancer. “They explained immunotherapy to me as a treatment that focusses directly on cancer cells – like a sniper shot to take them out,” says Laine, who has now finished the treatment and is being closely monitored by his medical team.
“Remarkably, I had no side effects and I feel the best I’ve felt in five years. I’m so lucky to live near Southampton, in terms of the work and research that’s happening there. They deserve every penny they get to boost immunotherapy research, because what they’re doing to help people like me is incredible.”
Laine, 51, is a lorry driver who lives in Eastleigh, Hampshire, with wife Alison and their two daughters.