From Cancer Survivor to Pro Photographer: Ian’s Inspiring Journey

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Ian Randall, hailing from the UK, had to hang up his hat as a Fire Officer due to health woes, but stumbled upon a new gig that sparked joy—snapping pics for a cancer charity. This bloke’s got a knack for sports photography, and he’s turned his pastime into a paycheck.

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I bumped into Ian at a photo workshop when we were both greenhorns in the freelance world. The chap was bouncing back from cancer therapy, a bit foggy in the noggin, but still tackled every task with a grin and gusto. His snaps were nothing short of brilliant, and he soon made a name for himself with top-notch sports photos.

Ian’s a former Fire Officer, who had to call it quits after tangling with Ewing’s Sarcoma back in 2010. He bounced back, but his old life as a firefighter was off the cards.

Freelancing? It’s the bee’s knees for managing your well-being

Going solo meant Ian could juggle his health hiccups better. I get it—as a writer flying solo, I’ve got the reins on my hours, workspace, and the heap of work I take on. Ian dug that kind of freedom, too.

“Doctors said, ‘Don’t Google your illness; it’s all doom and gloom,’” Ian shared, “but I didn’t stumble upon Sarcoma UK ’til after I was on the mend. That’s when I figured I’d lend a hand to folks in rehab. Share the bright side of my journey, you know?

“I wasn’t as spry as before, and my focus was shot, but photography? That I could do. Volunteered to be the charity’s shutterbug. They were chuffed, and I was snapping away in no time!

“My first big break was capturing their crew at the London Marathon. Just 15 runners back then, but now? They’re mobbed with folks running for Sarcoma UK.

“It’s been a corker of an experience—doing events, medical shoots, and the lot. I meet others in the same boat, some grieving. My photography sparks chats, lets me share my tale, too.”

Climbing the ladder with a lens

Ian’s shots grace the charity’s website, socials, brochures, and mag. He’s all about his Canon and a prime lens that snaps cracking action shots.

As a writer with a camera, photography’s bumped up my own game. An editor once told me to skill up and buy better gear. I did, and my writing and photos are better for it. That travel mag became my top client, and I’ve sold snaps for calendars and stock photos to boot.

Ian’s chuffed to see his work in print and online. “It’s a buzz seeing how the charity’s designers use my snaps,” he muses. “They pick pics I wouldn’t have, cropping them in clever ways!”

He cooked up a set of images for the charity’s calendar—big hit, that—and it raised a bunch of awareness. Then there was London Fashion Week, rubbing elbows with some right inspirational folks.

“Sports photography’s been my jam for about six years,” Ian beams. “Then there was that gig at the Houses of Parliament for Cancer 52.

“I liked photography even before I got sick, but the fire service kept me too busy to dive in. After realizing I couldn’t return to the fire brigade, I focused on my camera work. A mate from the service showed me the ropes, and then I took a course.”

Fast forward, and Ian’s stuff’s been on the BBC and in the papers. He’s done weddings, portraits, corporate do’s, and sports events. It was all casual at first, as he honed his craft, but folks loved his work.

“Now, it’s all about sports shots,” he declares. “I’m shooting professionally for Queens Park Rangers—my childhood team. Plus, I snap for a footie photo agency.”

When he’s not at the matches, Ian’s at the London Marathon, fighting the crowds to get that perfect shot for Sarcoma UK.

He’s been to weddings in Italy and Iceland, snapping stunning shots and getting all expenses paid, including helicopter rides!

Ian’s still tight with Sarcoma UK. “I’m there when they need me,” he affirms. “I’ve taken some clinical photos, which felt a bit intrusive, but sharing my story made it worthwhile. The charity’s put those images to good use.”

Photography’s given Ian a sense of achievement, a new career, and a way to keep helping Sarcoma UK and others battling the big C.

A legacy of inspiration

Ian’s story floored me—his drive to aid fellow cancer fighters despite his own ongoing battles. He looks fine on the outside, but he’s still navigating health issues. It’s tough when folks can’t see the struggle. Yet, here he is, living life to thefullest. It’s an honor to share Ian’s journey with you.

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