A FORMER Greenock taxi driver who nearly died from testicular cancer and has since been told he will never be able to work again is now helping others survive.

Inspirational Raymond Elliott has been left in constant pain for the last three years since his life-saving treatment.

After doctors diagnosed the initial cancer they found it had spread through the lymph nodes into his stomach, his back and in to his shoulders.

He endured eighteen hours of chemo a day to blast the cells and has now been left with neuropathy, a crippling nerve damage in his hands and feet.

During his treatment he also suffered two relapses and ended up needing blood transfusions to save his life.

But Raymond says the most devastating impact of it all was the fear of never being able to work again.

He feels he has a second chance at life and hopes he can help other people like himself in his role as a MacMillan Cancer Support volunteer.

The 58-year-old is part of a new team who will help cancer patients find the practical support, information and services they need.

Raymond, of Wellington Way, said: "I remember when I was diagnosed I used to lie in bed awake at night worrying about how I would survive financially if I couldn't work.

"I had cancer but that was my biggest worry, not if I was actually going to survive.

"The hardest part of it all was when I was told that I would never be able to work again.

"I was absolutely devastated.

"That is the first time I just burst in to tears.

"I had worked all my days, what was I supposed to do now?

"Where did I go from there?"

Raymond, who lives on his own and has no relatives in the country, was left in shock when he was diagnosed in November 2014.

He had surgery to remove a testicle and then months of the gruelling chemo and is now in remission.

Raymond said: "I came within inches of losing my life.

"I had two relapses and two blood transfusions.

"I came that close but now I have a second chance at life.

"I fell seriously ill when my white blood cells bottomed.

"I was rushed to the Beatson having suffered a fracture in my back and ended up with cancer there as well.

"It was incredible to watch them spring into action, it was like a ballet.

"The nurse said to me when I was rushed in that they could tell I was a fighter, it wasn't my time to go."

He added: "Cancer changes the way you look at everything.

"You don't worry about the things you used to."

After finishing his treatment Raymond was left with neuropathy from nerve damage and he describes it as 'like the worst pins and needles imaginable'.

Raymond is one of the volunteers involved in the new MacMillan drop-in project run in partnership with local community care forum Your Voice.

They are fully trained to help people with cancer, and their loved ones, to find out about services in the area and assistance with benefits, carers and physical activities.

Raymond said: "Some of these services saved my life.

"I don't know what I would have done without Jacqueline Coyle, who runs the Macmillan benefits service.

"She took care of everything for me.

"I want to help other people get in touch with the right service.

"The hospice Access Centre also helped me as well - there are so many services out there, it is just about finding them."

Raymond added: "I also just want to be there for people and to talk to them and tell them my story.

"I am good at talking!

"It is not something to be scared of talking about and I want to raise more awareness.

"I have already helped some people and it feels good to be able to do this.

"I have a purpose

"Someone has already said to me that I saved their life."

The new MacMillan info and connect sessions run in Greenock Central Library on Mondays from 10.30am to 12.30pm and on Thursdays from 1.30 to 3.30pm.

They are open to anyone affected by cancer, whether it is the individual, their families, friends or carers.

To find out more call 728628 or email enquiries@yourvoice.org.uk