TWIN brothers who were diagnosed with different kinds of cancer weeks apart as teenagers are taking on a huge challenge - to thank the hospitals that saved their lives.

In 2005, Ian and Thomas Slater’s lives were turned upside down, when it was discovered following a rugby injury that Thomas had Desmoplastic fibroma in his leg - one of the rarest bone tumours in the world.

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The initial article in the St Helens Star on the twins in 2006

Then, a couple of months later, Thomas’ twin brother Ian was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Before undergoing his own treatment for the tumour, Thomas postponed his operation in order to be a stem cell donor for his brother when the pair were aged 15.

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Thomas and Ian now

Ian, now 30, said: “We were only 15 and Thomas broke his leg playing rugby, and when he went in for the scan they found out he had this super rare kind of tumour in his leg.

“A few months after I got diagnosed with leukaemia and after all the family got tested, only Thomas was a match to give me stem cells, but that would mean putting off his own treatment to help me. And he did.

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Thomas and Ian with older brother Daniel and their dad - who will take on the challenge together

“I had the treatment at Whiston Hospital then chemotherapy and radiotherapy at Clatterbridge Hospital then my transplant at Liverpool Royal.

“Then Thomas had to have his operations to remove his tumour in his leg and since then he’s had 15 operations, leaving his bone in his leg as thin as an egg shell.

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A scan of Thomas' leg

“Four years ago he had an operation where they put plates in, screws and cement to try and help him but he’s still in pain with it.”

Dad-of-three Thomas added: “We are both OK now, I’ll probably lose my leg one day but for now I’m managing with it.

“Our dad runs Palletland and our older brother Daniel and us have done loads of challenges in the past to raise money for charity so we decided to do a big one all together to celebrate our birthdays on September 25 and do the Three Peaks Challenge.

“It will be hard for me on my leg, but I’m going to do it, we as a family went through so much but those hospitals got us through it and we want to thank them."

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Ian added: "We kept in touch with all of our nurses, we consider them as family, so we want to give back to them because they really saved our lives and 15 years on we want to do something big for them to say thanks."

The challenge involves climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon - the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales in 24 hours, with all donations raised going to Whitson Hospital and The Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.

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