Team member Kevin Bennett tells us what 4Challenge means to him...
My main motivation for undertaking the challenge is my Dad. He died of prostate cancer in January 2009. He had been diagnosed early in 2008 and the initial prognosis was reasonably positive – the Consultant said he was more likely to die “with it than from it.” However, at the start of the summer, it became clear at a routine appointment (so he was on his own) that the treatment was not going to work and there was nothing more they could do for him.
Externally at least, he came to terms with that and tried to get on with his life over the summer, including attending Jon Thornhill’s wedding to my niece Rachel. Not long after that, he began to deteriorate and was in and out of hospital. He began to attend Weston Park for pain treatment and became an in-patient towards the end of the year. At this time in particular, we realised that the care in Weston Park was exceptional: they were doing everything possible to make his final days positive and comfortable. It was clear that many of the ‘extras’ that made a difference came from the charity.
Dad died a couple of weeks after Christmas (5/1/2009) as peacefully as he endured his illness. Fortunately, he had not suffered as badly as many cancer patients, but he did not complain once about his situation. Those that knew him would have understood that.
In his youth, my Dad was a keen cyclist. He and his best friend regularly told us tales of their adventures – the main one being a cycling trip to Blackpool. That was actually my initial reason for considering a cycling challenge; but to Blackpool and back, not half way around the country. On the back of this, when Jon T came up with the idea, although slightly daunted by the thought of it, I decided that I had to give it a go.
Doing enough general training is a challenge, but the toughest test to date – a 50 mile spin around the Peak District on 19 April – went pretty well, and I could still walk 5 hours later! I now have to crank up the effort to get to a point where I could essentially repeat that 6 or 7 times over 4 days! I am not underestimating the challenge, but the memory of my Dad and the massive support from my family and friends (who also have their own experiences with cancer and Weston Park) is definitely driving me on.
It is, without a doubt, the most difficult and crazy physical challenge I have ever taken on; especially at 52! It will also be a very emotional experience, I imagine. I have no doubt though that it is worth every peddle stroke along the way.