A 20-year-old who tragically died of skin cancer first had the disease spotted while he was getting a tattoo.
Tom Linton, from Chester-le-Street, was just 19 when he was diagnosed with melanoma and sadly passed away just months later.
His heartbroken family have vowed to keep a promise to Tom and are raising awareness of melanoma so others won’t have to go through what he did.
They joined charity Melanoma-Me and are organising Tom Fest in May this year to pay tribute to his life and raise awareness of melanoma.
Mum Amanda Linton, 48, said: "Tom said: 'Will you promise me you will go to Melanoma-Me', and I promised I would. He then said: 'Will you promise me that nobody will go through this' and that was his final wish."
Tom started to feel unwell a month before Christmas in 2019 and had been losing weight - he also started suffering with pains and developed little blue spots on his chest.
"The doctor said he had never seen anything like that in his life and sent him for a scan," Amanda explained.
But despite several trips to the doctors, the family still had no answers until one day when Tom collapsed while out with friends and was rushed to hospital where medics scanned him and found there was cancer in his liver, his kidneys, and his lungs.
Amanda said: "They had to find the primary cause because it was all in organs and it had to have come from somewhere so they took a biopsy from the blue dots.
"I was rubbing his arm as he was in pain and I noticed a mole on his arm. The doctor said he thought it definitely came from that mole."
The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.
Amanda said: "For his 18th birthday, he wanted this tattoo, I was a bit against it but he wanted a half sleeve.
"The mole was on the inner of his arm and the tattoo artist had said to Tom: 'I would get that checked out.'
"Tom never mentioned it to me, he was 18 and was so over the moon with this tattoo, the mole was the least of his worries.
"When I asked him about the mole he said: 'Mum, I really didn't think it was anything as bad as this.'
"Cancer would be the last thing a young lad would think. Tom told me he had never really heard of melanoma, he didn't know anything about it."
Sadly, he was diagnosed with melanoma in January 2020 but the cancer had already spread and Tom quickly deteriorated.
Paying tribute to her son, Amanda said: "He was very compassionate, he didn't like any nastiness, he wanted everybody to be treated the same.
"Nobody had anything bad to say about him. He touched the hearts of everyone he met.
"He is still a huge part of people's lives. Tom's wish was to be buried so he's buried near where we live and lots of people and all his friends still go to see him.
“He was just somebody that everybody loved and once you had been with Tom, you felt so much better."
You can find out more about Tom Fest - or buy a ticket - here.
Featured Image Credit: NCJ Media
Topics: UK News