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Birth of grandson gives former UTV journalist Ken Reid a boost ahead of cancer surgery


‘Nervous but confident’: Former UTV political editor Ken Reid. Credit: Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

‘Nervous but confident’: Former UTV political editor Ken Reid. Credit: Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

‘Nervous but confident’: Former UTV political editor Ken Reid. Credit: Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The birth of his first grandson has given former UTV political editor Ken Reid a boost ahead of surgery on Friday after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Speaking from his hospital bed as he underwent pre-operative tests on Thursday afternoon, the television stalwart said his case is a reminder of the importance of cancer screening programmes.

"I have a family history so I go for tests every couple of years,” he said.

"I had a colonoscopy and it picked up a tumour in my bowel about 10 weeks ago, so it shows how important it is to attend your medical appointments.”

Describing himself as “nervous” ahead of the surgery, he revealed his first grandson’s arrival at the weekend has been a boost to his family at a difficult time.

"He is called Hugo, he was just out of hospital yesterday and is doing great,” he said.

"It’s picked me up no end. I have a granddaughter, Summer, as well, who is two-and-a-half.”

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Ken announced on social media on Thursday afternoon that he was due to undergo surgery on Thursday and said he has been overwhelmed by the messages of support he has received in response to news of his latest health setback.

"The messages and words of support have been a source of great encouragement,” he posted on Twitter.

"Feeling quite humbled by them. Thank you. Back soon.”

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he continued: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of good wishes, it’s been fantastic.

"I won’t be checking the Twitter messages for a while, I’m afraid my phone will be out of range for a while. I’m nervous, but I’m fairly confident in the medical staff, particularly the surgeon doing the operation.”

Ken, who has type 2 diabetes, is no stranger to the NHS, having been diagnosed with leukaemia in 2017 and then suffering a minor stroke last year.

Speaking about his first cancer diagnosis in an earlier interview, he revealed he was diagnosed “almost by accident”.

After a holiday in Ibiza, Ken went for a check-up with a podiatrist about a foot infection.

He revealed: "I was asked to go to Antrim Area Hospital for a blood test which apparently revealed an abnormality that necessitated a second test. An hour later I was told that I had leukaemia. It was as quick as that."

A terrified Ken was immediately admitted to hospital.

He recalled: "It was the darkest night of my life. I feared the worst, especially in the lonely wee small hours. I knew I wasn't going to see the consultant until the morning.

"However, he was a fantastic guy and he asked me what questions I had for him. My first query was 'if there was any hope' for me.

"He told me there was loads of hope. He laid it on the line that there was no cure for the form of leukaemia I had. But he said it could be treated and that with any luck they would try to give me a normal life expectancy.

"I felt completely different after talking to him."

And when he was in his 50s, Ken feared he would lose his leg when he developed an ulcer due to his diabetes. He has attributed the fact he only lost a toe to the dedication of the staff treating him at the time.

Ken, who has already been through chemotherapy to treat his chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, will find out after Friday’s operation whether he will need further treatment for his bowel cancer.

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