At 12noon, on June 6 from the Comedy Carpet in the shadow of the iconic Blackpool Tower, terminal kidney cancer patient Jon set off on his motorbike for the biggest journey of his life and on 30th September at London's Royal Free Hospital, he completed that journey!
Jon has travelled around the coastline of England, Scotland and Wales shouting loudly that he is ‘Facing Up 2 Kidney Cancer’ throughout the whole of his fifty seven day ride, talking to the public, the press, radio and TV as well as gaining a huge following of supporters and new friends along the way. Many others have helped Jon by hosting fundraising events in support of Facing Up 2 Kidney Cancer including such diverse happenings as sheep racing, coffee mornings, completing the Peak Sky Race challenge, as well as bicycling and running marathons!
On hearing the news his kidney cancer had spread and was terminal, Jon, and his wife Sarah, committed themselves to raising awareness of this all too often hidden silent and deadly disease. Jon set out to £50,000 for the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer as possible to fund the vital research undertaken by Professor Thomas Powles into earlier diagnosis and better treatments. To date Jon has raised £25,000, and along the way he wanted to have some fun; and did he ever!
From the launch in Blackpool on June 6, Jon completed his journey over four months and five stages with Sarah driving the support vehicle all whilst holding down his day job! Stage 1: (North West England and down around the coast of Wales), Stage 2: (an 18 day marathon around Scotland and down the North West coast of England), Stage 3: (from Berwick-upon-Tweed down the East coast to Chelmsford Essex). Stage 4: around the South West, South and South East coasts. And finally, Stage 5: On Monday 28th September Jon left Pembridge School in Herefordshire, crossed the country once more and travelled from Southend-On-Sea into and across the capital on 29th September finishing his epic journey at The Royal Free Hospital in North London on 30th September.
Jon said of the ride so far; "I am thrilled to have been able to undertake this incredible journey, the support we have had from everyone has been unbelievable. The adage that ‘strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet’ has never rung truer. I have met so many wonderful people along the way and have benefited from their generosity in so many forms: sponsorship, donations, accommodation, food, support and the most precious of all - genuine friendship.
“I have been journeying with a message and I will continue to shout it out at every opportunity, and that is the vital importance of catching kidney cancer in the very early stages through early diagnosis. The only way to achieve this is by raising awareness of the disease and developing diagnostic tests. Every day, people need to be aware, doctors need to be aware, nurses need to be aware; kidney cancer must be on everyone’s radar. If you show any symptoms such as blood in urine, persistent low back pain or pain in your side between your ribs and hipbone, or if you feel a lump or mass in the area of your kidneys see your GP immediately.”
Jon concluded; “My symptoms were atypical, I suffered from fatigue, fevers, and chills and I was misdiagnosed. Two years were lost before the disease was correctly diagnosed. Even though I’ve had a radical nephrectomy and drastic immunotherapy it has proved impossible to halt the disease and my situation was described last year by the consultant as utterly hopeless. Please don’t let that be you.”
James Whale, Chairman of the fund and kidney cancer survivor said: “What Jon has done is nothing short of heroic. He has dedicated his time to go around the UK and spread the word about the importance of early diagnosis of kidney cancer. In the process, he has ridden over 7,500 miles and so far has raised over £25,000 for research into early treatments for kidney cancer. Jon has made a difference to patients through his actions and we sincerely thank him.”
Find out more about Jon's journey at: