Running the BMW Berlin Marathon for charity
One man's remarkable fundraising story
Every year, the 40,000-strong BMW Berlin Marathon field is made up of a wide range of inspirational people, from amateur athletes pushing themselves to the limit, to charity fundraising heroes running to make a difference. One man who falls into both of those camps is Ben, who is currently undergoing treatment for bowel cancer. Instead of letting cancer stop him in his tracks, he took on six marathons in six months in 2014, all the while raising money for cancer charities. Ben's challenge culminated at the 2014 BMW Berlin Marathon, and today we hear his remarkable story.
"I want to raise money for cancer charities, because I have Bowel Cancer myself. I'm reluctant to write cancer sufferer, because while it has certainly been an experience I would never say that I've suffered. To suffer is endure something and I've done my best to embrace all the opportunities that cancer has presented to me.
However, after two major surgeries to remove my bowel, half of my liver and two rounds of unsuccessful chemotherapy, things got tough. When I began a new regime in June last year my future was uncertain. I always say that there are many good things to come from having cancer. I've made lots of new friends, I've retired, which has enabled me to spend lots of time with family and especially my girls (how many young fathers are able to say the same), my retirement has also meant that we went to Disneyland Paris. Being a young patient, I want to show my young daughters (they are 9, 4 and 21 months) that my positive spirit has endured, that I haven't merely succumbed to cancer and I won't let illness get in the way of living my life and realising my dreams.
We'll never stop fighting and living life. Even though I have terminal cancer my current treatment is holding it at bay and I'm surprised about how much I can do. Before my diagnosis I ran a little and did the Great North Run in September 2011. I'd planned to do my first marathon at Blackpool in March 2012, but my symptoms started presenting, I couldn't train and was diagnosed in March 2012 instead. Funny old life isn't it? In addition to my surgeries I have had four courses on chemo and started my fifth course of chemotherapy in January this year. Anyway, I started running again, starting with the 2014 edition of the Blackpool Marathon in April. After that I ran a further five marathons, so in total six marathons in six months finishing with Berlin in September.
The Marathons I have run are:
April 6th Blackpool Marathon COMPLETED 5hrs30
May 18th Windermere COMPLETED 6hrs30
June 29th Wakefield COMPLETED 6hrs10
July 26th Summer Around The Reservoir (Northampton) COMPLETED 6hrs30
August 10th Isle of Man COMPLETED 4hrs53 PB!
September 28th Berlin COMPLETED 4hrs56
Any support you can give would be greatly appreciated. The charities I'm raising money for have helped and supported us as a family, or in the case of Clic Sargent have touched us with the amazing work they do. One thing I've been very grateful for is that it's me that's ill, not my girls and Clic Sargent does wonderful work in supporting children with cancer and their families. Rosemere is the unit, based at the Royal Preston Hospital, where I receive treatment and is home to some truly amazing Doctors, Nurses, volunteers and other staff. MacMillan and Beating Bowel Cancer have been with us from day one offering advice and support for my family as and when it's been needed."