Dad-of-two Ric Clarke, 33, from Penwortham, told the Evening Post how he discovered he was battling cancer while training for a triathlon. In this column, he talks about how he has been inspired by those who took part in an 11 mile walk organised by the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.
Thursday last week was my last chemotherapy appointment this side of my surgery. It was hard work, and I think that the medication is now compounding up so the recovery from a day of chemo is difficult.
I saw some familiar faces on the ward, nurses and patients, I have found myself becoming part of the Rosemere family; everyone is supportive and welcoming.
Friday and Saturday were lazy days, and I spent a lot of time in bed, although sleep still evades me due to the steroids.
Usually for the first few days I miss sleep and I am full of energy, but this time around it was different, there was an overhanging weariness. I managed a couple of hours of sleep during the days following chemo. I had to get as much rest as possible for the upcoming Rosemere Walk in the Dark. This was an event organised by Rosemere Cancer Foundation to raise awareness and funds for the unit. I had gathered together a crew of about 25 people, family, friends and work colleagues and we had been busy collecting sponsorship and training for the 11 mile walk from Chorley Hospital to Preston Hospital.
We gathered at Chorley before setting off at just after 9pm. Last year there were approximately 150 walkers, this year there was a fabulous turnout of over 400 walkers. It was a fantastic event.
I stayed near the back of the group of walkers and managed to speak to a few people. The major standout points from the walk were that everybody had been affected in some way by cancer, whether it be themselves, or a family member/friend who was battling cancer, or even those who had lost people, everyone had a story to tell, but more importantly, the numerous good news stories.
One gentleman had just been given the all clear from bowel cancer and he was walking, determined to fight on more.
Of the people that walked with me, I would say that there were two stars. Karyn who had had health problems recently and was well outside her comfort zone and also Rose, at the other end of the spectrum, a six- year-old who walked the entire way on her own.
These two showed me the determination and will to achieve something they would not normally do. This along with the generosity and camaraderie really made me feel proud of everyone who took part.
It was a truly eye-opening experience. I have done many running events in the past, but this event put everything into perspective for me. It was an inspiring evening and showed me that all types of people are willing to try something different, to support something close to them, something that means something.
I have raised money for charity before and I have always chosen something close to me to raise funds for, but this was on a different scale. Our crew of people have so far managed to raise in excess of £2,000, which is overwhelming.
The following days after the walk I was still in awe at everyone’s achievement, mine included having only had chemo two days prior, but I must admit that I find it easier running the 11 mile distance than walking it. Due to me recovering from the chemo I spent the next few days relaxing and taking it easier than I would normally, as I still feel weary and tired.
At least I have a break from the chemo now before my surgery, so it is now time to sit back and get ready for the next steps.