So I developed a new small mole on my leg last year, and I got it checked out by Sacha at Royal Berks... THANK GOD, because it was a massive shock when it came back as a melanoma. 2 weeks later I went up to Oxford for surgery to make sure it was all out (it was) and that it hadn't spread to my lymph nodes (it hadn't).
And this came 3 months after Lisa (my sister) was also diagnosed with a melanoma on her arm. Hers was more advanced, and after her surgery she has been on a year long trial of immunotherapy (a bit brutal) which finished in the Spring this year. Last check up a few weeks back was all good.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, because of its ability to spread to other organs rapidly. Here are some scary stats from Cancer Research UK
- It is the fifth most common cancer in the UK
- 16,000 people are diagnosed with it every year in the UK, and rates are climbing
- 2,400 people die each year
- 1 in 36 UK males and 1 in 47 UK females will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime
Andy Pay is the surgeon who operated on me last year and still sees me regularly. He recommended this charity when I asked him about raising money. Melanoma Focus looks after many aspects, from Research to education, Prevention and treatment, and support for patients and families.
THE HALF IRONMAN
So I've always been reasonably fit, and I ran a few half marathons about 4 years ago (including one as Bananaman - thanks to those that sponsored me in 2014!). I wanted a proper challenge, and this seemed perfect. So this is 3 things rolled into on:
1900m swim, followed by
90km bike, followed by
Half marathon, followed by
Burger and a pint
When I started training in April, I was a bit disappointed to find out how out of shape I was. I could only manage about 150m swim without stopping for about 10 minutes! Things are a bit better after a lot of lengths of Didcot wave and a bit of Thames swimming. Thanks to Rob Bill and John Harper for coming along for a few of the training rides and runs - it's been a lot of training over the summer, and Cass has been very understanding (as long as I train when the kids are at school or asleep..!)
It's only 2 weeks away now - I'm hoping to finish it in about 6.5-7 hours, but I really have no idea! To those that said they'd do it with me and then went very quiet (you know who you are) - next year?
Thanks for reading, and for sponsoring me - it's an ambitious amount of money to raise but definitely a good cause.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.