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Throughout 2017 I will be running in events around the UK to raise awareness of this devastating incurable disease and hopefully generate some much needed funds to support those affected by this asbestos related cancer.
The events below includes 2 full and 4 half marathons. I'll end the year with one final run over a much shorter distance, racing into the icy waters of the North Sea during the festive season!
London Marathon Sun 23rd April
Leeds Half Marathon Sun 14th May
Great Manchester Run Sun 28th May
Durham Coast Half Marathon Sun 11th June
Great North Run Sun 10th September
Yorkshire Marathon Sun 8th October
Sunderland Boxing Day Dip Tues 26th Dec
Mesothelioma is a relatively rare cancer with around 2500 people diagnosed in the UK every year. Historically this was a disease associated with occupational asbestos exposure however more recently, there has been an increase in the number of people diagnosed through incidental exposure. Doctors, nurses, teachers and those who have worked in public buildings are also at risk and the numbers of patients diagnosed in those professions continue to rise.
As yet there is no proven evidence that surgical removal of the cancer is helpful and there is only 1 approved chemotherapy treatment available on the NHS. Mesothelioma UK is a National charity dedicated to ensuring that those affected can access support and Information on the most appropriate clinical trials and treatments available. The charity also funds vital data collection and research with the aim of improving outcomes for mesothelioma patients and their families.
With such few approved treatment options, it's not uncommon for people to seek out anything that might help improve their symptoms and indeed increase their chances of longer term survival. It's a key role of Meso UK clinical nurse specialists to ensure that patients make informed decisions about accessing treatment and avoid the pitfalls of exploring unscrupulous therapies sometimes touted to those desperate to try anything.
It's for this reason I chose the Hollywood actor Steve McQueen as my profile picture. The story of his illness and death is a fascinating but sad one. It is still relevant today. He died aged just 50 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. He believed that asbestos used in movie sound stage insulation and race-drivers' protective suits and helmets could have been involved, but he thought it more likely that his illness was a direct result of massive exposure while removing asbestos lagging from pipes aboard a troop ship while in the Marines.
In 1980 he traveled to Mexico, for unconventional treatment after US doctors told him they could do nothing to prolong his life. Controversy arose over the trip, because McQueen sought treatment from William Donald Kelley, who was promoting a variation of the Gerson therapy that included the use of coffee enemas but described as quackery by mainstream doctors. McQueen paid for Kelley's treatments at a cost of $40,000 per month ($116,000 today).
McQueen returned to the US after 3 months of treatment. Despite spread of the cancer throughout his body, Kelley publicly announced that McQueen would be completely cured and return to normal life. His condition soon worsened and "huge" tumors developed in his abdomen. He died on November 7th 1980.
Please consider supporting my efforts by either sponsoring me or making a donation to mesothelioma UK.
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.