FLY WITH A MIRACLE

At the age of eighteen, Andrew Belshaw suffered pain in his right leg which eventually turned out to be osteosarcoma a cancerous bone tumour. Readers seeking a book mostly about flying may be disappointed to find that this one is much more concerned with the fight against cancer.

At the age of eighteen, Andrew Belshaw suffered pain in his right leg which eventually turned out to be osteosarcoma a cancerous bone tumour.

This is the story of his treatment, his eventual recovery and his subsequent prowess as a private pilot and a professional Air Traffic Controller. The book is competently written by his mother, who is a romantic novelist, and naturally the story is told from the perspective of the parent. Readers seeking a book mostly about flying may be disappointed to find that this one is much more concerned with the fight against cancer. However, it does illustrate that if you are tough enough to survive not only the threat of cancer but also the horrific treatment in the hope of a cure, you will not easily be put off private flying by relatively minor obstacles such as disability or lack of cash. While not too many of us will get to fly a PA 28 around Africa, as did Andrew, most of us will sooner or later experience, at first or second hand, a brush with cancer. This book will give you a very good idea of what this can mean. It's all there: the early misdiagnoses, the horrors of chemotherapy, the debility, the discomfort and the dread.

Not nearly enough cancer stories have a happy ending, but thanks to having parents who were well off and medically well connected, and thanks also to a fierce determination to survive, Andrew made it to a complete and well deserved cure. Last heard of as SATCO at RAF Wyton, he fought extremely hard first to survive and then to find aviation related work. He deserves his success. Nigel Everett.