Inspirational Ashover man who was told three times he might not live defies odds to celebrate 50th birthday
Being told you might not have much longer to live is unimaginable.
Which is what makes the strength and spirit of Ashover man Shaun Gratton even more inspiring.
For he has been told three times that the serious health scares he has suffered in the last few years might be one step too far.
But the obsessed Spireites football supporter, who has Down’s Syndrome, has come back fighting every time.
On Wednesday, he celebrated his 50th birthday – something doctors and medics believed would not happen.
To top it all, on Monday, he was told that the likelihood of his cancer returning is very slim.
His overjoyed and loving mum, Olga Burrows, 73, said: “It is the best present we could ask for.
“I cannot believe it. It is incredible. Three times I have looked at arranging funerals.
“He is a fighter. He is a fit lad and very strong.”
Shaun, who grew up in Holymoorside on a farm, was born with Down’s Syndrome.
He is obsessed with football and supports the Spireites and Liverpool. His bedroom is decorated in Liverpool colours including the club’s stadium Anfield. He also likes music.
Shaun learns vital skills at a group called JT Project in Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire, where they carry out a number of activities and interact with their friends.
When he reached 46, Shaun experienced setback after setback in terms of his health.
In June 2013 he was found to have five large blood clots in his leg.
Then, in November 2013, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
That was followed by the collapse of his lungs and eventually the removal of his right kidney in 2015.
In 2016 he had a staghorn kidney stone removed from his other kidney.
And last year he was in and out of hospital with a number of other different health difficulties.
But none of what he has had to face has ever stopped him doing what he wants to do.
He continues to take life in his stride and has turned into a very respectful and kind man.
“It is unbelievable,” Olga told the Derbyshire Times.
“I am so proud of him because he is a lovely man.
“He never bothers anybody.
“Everybody loves him.
“Whatever happens he just gets on with it.
“When he is in hospital he just accepts it and just wants to get back to work.
“His story might give hope to other men who have had testicular cancer.
“I never thought he would make it when he got to 46.”
To celebrate his landmark 50th birthday, Shaun, who lives at home with Olga and his step-dad Harry, 77, is having three parties in total, and no one will deserve it more than him.