Known as ‘Joe from Bennigans’ for many years, Joe Nelis is a Derry character that most local people would know.
He retired at the end of December 2014, after a lifetime working in pubs and bars but, unfortunately, a lifetime of smoking also caught up with him.
He explains: “I have smoked for 50 years, from I was 15, and up until April of this year, smoked 50 a day.
“I always thought I would be the lucky one who wouldn’t get cancer.”
Unfortunately Joe was diagnosed with lung cancer and in April, 2015, underwent treatment where the upper lobe of one of his lungs was removed.
Thankfully, Joe has come out on the other side.
“I was in hospital for almost a month. But since then I have kept well. The cancer has given me a wake-up call.
“I stopped smoking the day before my surgery and I eat better now, and walk everywhere.”
Now Joe wants to give something back to Cancer Research UK - and Slide On was something he was looking forward to. However circumstances have ruled him out.
“My doctor has told me I can’t take part as I’m prone to infection. I am disappointed but my nephews are now taking part in my place.”
Nephew Aidan says, “Joe hates to put people out, so didn’t ask us to take his place - but when we found out he couldn’t do it, there was no question that we would do Slide On instead.
“Joe comes from a tight family, and he’s held in high regard by everyone who knows him - it’s an honour to do it in his place. You never how many of us will take part; it’ll definitely be a big family day out.”
If you want to contribute to Joe’s team for Slide On you can donate at www.justgiving.co.uk/joenelisslide
Anyone wishing to register for Slide On can go online to www.cruk.org/SlideOnDerry or visit the information booth which will be in the Richmond Centre every Saturday in August from 11am to 4.00pm Slide On is proudly sponsored by H&A Mechanical.