I was 49 when I was told I had terminal prostate cancer and might only have two years to live. It was a real shock for my family. I started chemotherapy shortly afterwards and had an epiphany – I realised life is for living. And I didn’t want another family to go through what mine is right now.
That was in 2014. Since then, I’ve run two marathons while on chemotherapy to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK. The statistics are stark: one in eight men in the UK will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. One man dies of it every 45 minutes. Sadly, I will be one of them.
After surviving for two years and raising funds by running, I started to consider my legacy – who will raise funds and awareness after I’m not here? So, this year, I set about inspiring more than 150 colleagues, friends and family to do something for the charity. Between them, they have raised around £120,000 and – even better – I’m still here.
In 2018, I will take on my biggest challenge yet by taking part in the 6633 Arctic Ultra. That’s 350 miles across the Arctic unsupported, pulling a sledge in temperatures of -50C. Two weeks later, I will head to the Sahara for the Marathon Des Sables. The 250km race involves carrying food and kit for a week in temperatures of more than 50C. I don’t believe anyone has ever taken on both these races with T4 cancer.
I also plan to beat my 2017 record and inspire 500 people to hold an event for Prostate Cancer UK, whether it’s a race, walk, cake bake or car wash. Everything makes a difference. Raising awareness is essential, because early diagnosis and treatment can lives.
I do what I do to inspire people to live for today, to help others, and to push their boundaries. That’s why I was totally humbled to be named this year’s #givingtuesday charity champion. So many ordinary people do so much, often in their own times of adversity, that it must have been a near impossible task to pick a winner.
It’s not only down to my new-found determination that I can do it all. My wife Sarah, the fantastic doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital and my employer, RBS, have all been so supportive since the day I first had symptoms.
Living with terminal cancer hasn’t been easy. But every day when you wake up, you can choose to smile or to scowl. If you smile, then you and those you meet will have a better day. So why would you scowl?
- #givingtuesday is led in the UK by the Charities Aid Foundation. This year is is on 28 November.
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