A man from Watford, who has beat cancer three times, has fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a furniture maker and has recently starred in a prime time television furniture restoration programme.
The Channel 4 show, Mend It For Money, features Sam Ryan, 29, of Oxhey, as an expert furniture restorer who uses his knowledge to give old items a new lease of life.
The documentary begins tonight (Monday 1 February) with new episodes being shown every weekday in February.
Sam told WatfordNews: “There is a lot of meaning behind where I am today. I have been through so much in my life that I do not care what people think about me. I want to show people that if you keep going and going, someday something good will come out of it and you can achieve your dreams. I am not just some youngster that has been selected to go on a TV programme, there is a real story behind it.”
Watford Resident Sam was first diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of just three and then relapsed when he was six.
He went through two difficult doses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy as a young boy and found school life difficult because his treatments affected his short term memory.
In 2006 Sam received the Watford FC Superhero award for outstanding courage, for his brave and resilient attitude towards his cancer treatment.
After getting the all-clear, Sam began to rebuild his life only to fall ill for a third time at age 17, with a cancerous brain tumour.
Sam said this diagnosis was a huge knockback that impacted him socially and academically. After critical brain surgery that could have left him paralyzed, he began his road to recovery.
Despite the challenges Sam has faced, he has always been determined to push through and achieve his goal of owning his own furniture business.
After graduating from University in 2013 with a degree in Furniture Restoration Conservation and Decorative Arts, he set up his business Sam Ryan Furniture and has worked from his garden wood workshop in Watford ever since.
Last year, Sam was approached by Channel 4 producers to feature in a brand new show, Mend It For Money. Following government guidelines in Autumn 2020, Sam travelled to Glasgow and embarked on filming the programme and showcasing his furniture-making talents.
Sam said: “I used the same drive to build up my business as I did to beat cancer three times. I have used a lot of determination in myself to get to where I am today. Filming for Channel 4 was a great and hugely positive experience. It was really uplifting to be on TV following my lifelong ambition. I’ve had my workshop and worked with furniture for eight years so, on the programme, I did everything I could to make my skills look as good as they are in the workshop.”
Sam hopes that by speaking out about his experiences, he can inspire others that there is hope for the future.
He said: “I want to help and inspire people who are currently going through cancer. I always found that hearing other people’s positive stories gives some light at the end of the tunnel. I hope that for people reading this, my story gives a glimmer of hope that there is something to look forward to in life and you can overcome the challenges. I just want to help people as much as I possibly can.”
Mend It For Money is showing on Channel 4 throughout February and will be available to watch on Channel 4 On Demand. To find out more about Sam’s Furniture work visit samryanfurniture.co.uk or follow his Facebook and Instagram page @samryanfurniture