King’s Lynn father with two forms of skin cancer helps others with disfigurements

A Norfolk man battling two forms of skin cancer is fund-raising for the Katie Piper Foundation to help others coping with disfigurement.

George Overson, of West Lynn, was diagnosed with a rare and inherited form of the disease, called Ferguson Smith's Syndrome, more than 30 years ago.

The condition causes painful lesions which eat away at skin tissue, causing scarring, and surgeons have already been forced to remove part of his nose.

It was while undergoing surgery in 2009 that doctors discovered the 39-year-old had developed, quite by chance, a second devastating form of skin cancer.

A large tumour was found growing in his cheek and Mr Overson was daunted by the prospect of extensive surgery - unsure how much of his face would be left when he came around.

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'They told me I would have to learn to eat and speak again,' he said. 'But, without the surgery they told me I would die. I had to think about my quality of life.'

It was while agonising over his decision that Mr Overson was approachd to appear in a new Channel 4 television series with Katie Piper, an aspiring television presenter who was disfigured in an acid attack.

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Katie: My Beautiful Friends has since aired across Europe, Australia and America and Mr Overson is now an ambassador for the charity foundation started by Miss Piper.

'I know that I can ring her at any time to have a chat,' he said. 'That's another reason why I wanted to do more to help. Katie has been so good to us and the foundation does amazing work. She's such an inspiration.'

Mr Overson has endured abuse about his appearance, even being spat at, and has found it difficult to find work because of his health problems.

'Even now, people will stare at me,' he said. 'I'm getting on with my life because there's no choice - I have a wife and children to look after.

'The cancer's not going anywhere - I'll always have it. I just want to highlight the fact that just because you look different doesn't mean you have to be treated differently.

'At the end of the day, I'm human luike anyone else.'

After various television appearances, Mr Overson and his wife, Marlene, have been contacted by a number of people asking for help and advice and they are keen to start a support network for people with disfigurements.

'I more than happy for people to call me and to give talks,' he said.

The couple have also organised a sponsored walk from Sutton Bridge to West Lynn on Sunday to raise money for the Katie Piper Foundation.

Mr Overson may still need surgery in the future, but his condition is currently baffling doctors.

'At my last scan, they found the tumour had actually shrunk by 3mm,' he said. 'I had another scan six weeks ago, so I just hope it's either shrunk again or stayed the same.'

Mr Overson can be contacted on 07703 559046 or email

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