A tennis star is giving back to the hospital which saved his life from cancer when he was a toddler.

Ryan Peniston, 22, of High Street, Great Wakering has donated his first professional winnings as a tennis player of £346 to St Bartholomew’s Hospital to help the hospital continue to treat children suffering from cancer.

Speaking about the time Ryan spent receiving treatment, his dad Paul, said: “Seeing what we saw changed our lives completely.

“We were thrown into a world that changed us forever, a world that had some positive days and then some of the saddest you could ever imagine with many of the children not making it. Ryan was one of the lucky ones.”

Ryan was rushed to hospital when he was just three with a tumour in his stomach that was the size of a football.

At the London hospital, doctors diagnosed Ryan with a rare cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive cancer made up of cells that normally develop into skeletal muscle.

When undergoing treatment for the disease, Ryan did not respond well to chemotherapy.

After they realised the treatment was not working, Ryan’s consultant Dr Judith Kingston, suggested that a new trial treatment be under taken to help shrink Ryan’s tumour.

Paul added: “A much stronger chemotherapy had to be used – he was the first patient to try it and we had to sign our permission.

“It started working straight away, but the side effects took him to the brink of survival.”

With the tumour shrunk to an operable size, Ryan was able to have surgery and has been cancer-free for 18 years, although he has a nine-inch scar above his stomach and an annual check-up as reminders.

Ryan still thanks Dr Kingston, who sadly died recently, for her part in saving his life.

He said: “She had a major role in beating the cancer.”

Ryan is now among the top 1,000 tennis players in the world. He also won the doubles title at the Qatar F4 Futures in Doha in December last year.

Ryan had always wanted to donate his first winnings to the hospital and he hopes he can continue supporting it through his career.

He said: “It’s my dream to play Wimbledon in the next few years.

“I hope to be handing Barts a bigger cheque soon.”