Littlehampton man who 'almost died' after ear surgery and was left with poor balance will attempt 26-mile charity walk

Gary Broughton, 47, from Bayford Road, Littlehampton. Picture: Kate Shemilt
Gary Broughton, 47, from Bayford Road, Littlehampton. Picture: Kate Shemilt

When Gary Broughton went to get his ears syringed, little did he know that months later he would need major surgery that has affected his balance.

In the aftermath, he claimed to have almost died – but the 47-year-old said he was determined to still complete a 26-mile walk for Cancer Research UK in September.

Gary Broughton's ear was removed and stitched back on. Picture: Kate Shemilt

Gary Broughton's ear was removed and stitched back on. Picture: Kate Shemilt

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Gary, of Bayford Road, Littlehampton, said: “I’m not a quitter. There are people out there worse off than me; people terminally ill with cancer.”

The aspiring tattoo model said he always thought he was deaf in his right ear. But when a doctor at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester inspected it before having the ear-cleaning treatment, he spotted a hole at the back.

After an MRI scan in February, Gary was diagnosed with a cholesteatoma: an abnormal collection of skin cells deep inside the ear which in rare cases can lead to a brain abscess or meningitis.

On June 24, at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth, his ear was partially cut off so the hole could be repaired and the growth removed, before being sewn up again.

Against his doctors’ advice, Gary only rested for three days and went for a walk to the beach, where he collapsed.

He said an ambulance was called and paramedics told him he nearly died.

After that incident, Gary said he took his rest much more seriously and used a scooter to get around while his balance recovered.

With the Shine Night Walk in London approaching on September 21, the fundraiser said he was determined to complete it. “I’m a fighter,” he said.

It is the second major operation Gary has had recently.

In April 2018, skin cancer was removed from his thigh and he is in remission, which is why he wanted to support Cancer Research UK.

Earlier this year, he turned heads by dancing around Littlehampton for the charity.

To donate, visit fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/garys-fundraising-page-26