As many of you will be aware, I am currently being treated for stage 4 melanoma under the care of the amazing team at the Royal Marsden Hospital. It is safe to say that the care I have received and continue to receive is outstanding and is keeping me alive. I am forever grateful to my oncologist Professor James Larkin and his amazing team.
Following my stage 4 diagnosis in March 2017, I was initially treated with pioneering immunotherapy (ipi/nivo) but following a relapse at Xmas 2017, I have subsequently been taking daily medication, which is known as targeted treatment (debrafenib and trametinib), which is, fingers crossed, keeping my melanoma under control. Once melanoma has spread internally in the body there is no current cure. You can read my full story in my blog www.shomelanoma.com which I write to raise awareness of this awful disease plus chart the ups and downs of life with melanoma.
Notwithstanding periods of suffering side effects from my treatments and the mental challenge of my diagnosis, I have generally been fortunate to be able to continue to live my life to the full and as a consequence I have really enjoyed channeling my energies into fundraising to support on-going research projects at the Royal Marsden. Its my way of saying thank you, giving something back whilst keeping fit and active doing the challenges that I love! The team led by my Oncologist Professor James Larkin are at the forefront of developing new pioneering life saving treatments that are helping patients like me live longer with their loved ones. Melanoma has been one of the success stories in recent years in developing new treatments and these are now regularly being adapted and applied to treat other cancers. Whilst significant progress has been made in the last few years much more needs to be done, as all too often patients still succumb to this awful disease.
This years challenge is described as being exhilarating, extremely challenging but hugely rewarding and is otherwise known as the Welsh 3000 Challenge, which will see us climb all 15 peaks over 3000ft (910m) in Wales over the weekend of 19th-21stJuly. The itinerary advises that it is a real mountain challenge and should not be taken lightly. The terrain is extremely varied involving some steep ascents and descents, long distances and little sleep.
Team Shomelanoma is made up of myself, David, Phil, Colin, Tony and Sam who have all undertaken a number of mountain challenges over the last few years and it is a privilege to have them all as part of the team.
All of the funds raised from this challenge will go 100% directly to the melanoma research fund at the Royal Marsden and will be allocated to fund further life saving research by my Oncologist Professor Larkin.