How To Save A Life…

Colin Butts by Craig Sugden

February, 2016. One of the best men – no, best humans I know – sat in a Doctor’s office in Ibiza, to be told he had Cancer.  And not just any old Cancer. Hell no. This isn’t a man to do things by halves. It was stage 4, Pancreatic Cancer. In his words, the Daddy of them all.

I met Colin Butts 10 years ago, in his apartment above Cafe Del Mar in Ibiza. My friends were his friends, and he was a Writer we were popping in to see. He was busy writing a script or something, I hadn’t paid much attention. But… Colin Butts isn’t really someone you don’t pay attention to for long. Larger than life, irrepressibly funny, and as it turned out, super talented. We started chatting and a friendship was formed. A couple of months later I was back, we hung out…and this pattern kind of repeated itself, on and off season, in London, Ibiza, Barcelona. Over the years I saw him mentor young Writers, get people jobs, look after drunk girls (cough), give up his own time to help people out, again and again.

Colin is a legend – the author of 3 books (all about Ibiza, all brilliant), the screenwriter of many TV episodes, and 2 films, which have starred everyone from Danny Dyer to Billy Zane. He’s also a phenomenal, self taught Musician. He’s magnetic and filthy and intelligent and thoughtful and he’ll kill me for telling you, but behind his eternal bachelor facade, he’s actually gentle, and kind and occasionally deep. Although I can tell you now, he’ll already be sniggering and thinking of a euphemism for that one. As I said. FILTHY.

Anyway. Shortly after that second film, White Island, had wrapped…after years of blood, sweat, rewriting and tears…Colin found himself in that Doctors office. Stage 4, terminal, Pancreatic Cancer.


Col released the news, in his own, brilliant, entertaining and wonderfully written way in this FB post. 3 months without chemo. Maybe 12, at a push, with.

As I began to understand the severity of what was happening, my heart cracked – to know I was going to lose my friend, and there was nothing, NOTHING we could do? Unfathomable. I cried almost endlessly for days and it took a stern talking to from one of the friends who had introduced us to talk me off that ledge. He didn’t need tears, he needed positivity.

The premiere of White Island, which had been due to take place in London – got brought forward. Close friends and family, cast and crew all arrived at Pikes in Ibiza for one hell of a screening party. Most held it together…until *that* scene – Billy Zane at Es Vedra (watch it, you’ll understand). Col was amazing. IT WAS AMAZING. It was also emotional, and frightening, and hard to see my friend look…ill.

I spoke to Col a few weeks later. There was a bit of good news. The drug trial he’d been on was working, kind of. The tumors had shrunk a little. Then a little more.

And then…the drug trial ended.


There was a phone-call, around Christmas. There was a chance Col could restart the treatment abroad. We’d need money. I went into panic mode, talking to everyone I knew about the possibility of raising funds, quick. Comedy nights? Parties? We talked crowdfunding – he wouldn’t have it. Not when he didn’t know how long it might buy him. He wouldn’t take money from people who may not even know him, not when they had families to feed and bills to pay.


A message. Talking about miracles. Not making much sense, in all truth. And then….and I’m smiling as I write this…a conversation saying the unthinkable.

Because of the unique way he had responded to the treatment – there was a Surgeon who may be able to operate. And if he could? The chances of lasting 5, or 10 years, were not just possible*, but likely. And the miracle part? My superhero of a mate, who, and I’m sorry to be blunt, we thought may not even make 2017 at one point – MIGHT NOT GET THE TUMOURS BACK AT ALL.


Now. Colin met the Surgeon. Subject to a CT scan – the operation is going ahead. The inconceivable is now possible – Colin, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer (look at the prognosis, it’s terrifying)…probably isn’t going anywhere for a while.

Butt…and here comes the butt (terrible pun, sorry). Due to timescales and funding and blah blah politics, the NHS can’t help. And because Col needs the op within the next 4 weeks, due to his weak immune system, we need to raise the £60-70,000 that will fund the operation and follow up treatment, like now.

So…here’s the biggie. Here’s how you really can help to save a life.

Colin has bitten the bullet, accepted it’s not going “cap in hand”, and has set up a crowdfunding page. We’re already 50% (ish) at the time of writing. But I beg – literally beg – for any possible donation to help us get my incredible, strong, unique, inspirational friend through this.

For me, it’s personal. But with Cancer rates as high as they are – I think this is kind of personal for everyone out there too. It’s a story of hope, of miracles, of strength and believing that the impossible may actually be possible after all.

The fundraising link is here:

I’d love for you to share this post, to reach as far and wide as possible (You don’t even need to think about what to write, just click to tweet!)

Tweet: Fancy doing something AMAZING today? Saving a life is a good place to start! #kickcancer

You can honestly feel warm and fuzzy for any donation, or awareness you can raise. I know we all donate to charity and we hope the money is going to really help someone, somewhere. In this case? It’s an enormous, real, genuine, tangible cause and may help keep one of my favourite people on the planet alive.

And typing that has made my eyes cry again.


I’ll sign off now…leaving you with my eternal gratitude for reading, for hopefully helping, and for caring.

Let’s beat this evil, life-destroying disease, one case at a time.


With love, light and hope.

JJ x

Links to Colin’s personal posts about his journey are here:


Books by Colin Butts are:

Films are:



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