A BOWEL cancer sufferer who feared he was just weeks from death when he decided to take part in a stand up comedy event is now up for a prestigious award.

Austin Birks was diagnosed with cancer last year and had to undergo emergency surgery and numerous rounds of chemotherapy.

While he was being treated, he took the unusual decision to sign up for an amateur comedy event to raise money to fight the disease.

Sadly, in October this year Mr Birks discovered his cancer had returned 'with a vengeance' but said whatever happens, he will continue enjoying life.

Now, Mr Birks has been nominated for charity champion of the year by fellow participants in the Ultra Comedy events.

Mr Birks, from Clent, near Bromsgrove, said: "I was delighted to be nominated and also quite surprised if I'm honest as I did the comedy event with some wonderful people who all deserved it more than me.

"I was diagnosed with stage four cancer in September 2018. Initially they thought it was just irritable bowel syndrome. Eventually a large tumour in my abdomen was discovered.

He added: "Then the amazing NHS stepped in and after emergency surgery and 13 doses of chemo I got the all clear in July 2019, which is also the same month I did my stand up performance.

"In October 2019, it came back with a vengeance and now I am about to undergo more chemo and surgery."

Mr Birks, an HR expert and keen karate instructor, performed in Birmingham at the Glee Club on July 4 this year and said he relished getting the chance to do something different.

Each year thousands of people across the UK take part in Ultra Events to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Austin said: "I told myself when I first got diagnosed that I wasn't going to let this change the activities and things I enjoy in life.

"Very few people who have cancer get the chance to take part in events like these, and being given the opportunity to perform stand up, or boxing, or MMA, whatever it is, it is a really good thing."

For more in the award, and to vote, go to ultraevents.co.uk/awards.