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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

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Carlisle dad battling back from cancer gears up for charity ride

A dad is battling back from cancer and he’s going the extra mile to help others.

Mark Reay photo
Mark Reay

Mark Reay, of Belle Vue, Carlisle, was stunned after being told he had non Hodgkins lymphoma in March 2011.

The 46-year-old was forced to give up his job as a heating and plumbing engineer so he could undergo life-saving surgery to remove a tumour as well as months of debilitating chemotherapy.

Having earlier completed a 50km cycle challenge, he was now faced with not even being able to get down the stairs.

Mark was dealt a further blow when he lost his father to bowel cancer and his wife Lisa’s dad, who also had lymphoma, died of heart problems.

Three years on and Mark is now in remission and preparing to return to work full time.

But looking back at the last few years, Mark says the fact he was able to spend time with his son Oliver, who is now 12, meant there was a major up-side to come out of his ordeal.

He explained: “I have had two of the worst years of my life but, at the same time, while I was off work I could spend so much time with my son.

“But then you have to go back to work and it’s back to reality again.

“It was a positive to come out of the whole thing – me and Lisa both lost our dads in a short space of time and it’s been really hard for our families.”

As a healthy dad, Mark couldn’t believe it when doctors told him he had cancer.

“I kept saying you’ve got it wrong – I didn’t feel ill,” he said. “But the results were there to be seen. It was just so frightening but I had to be optimistic from day one.”

Lisa, 44, added: “The little one kept us both going. You don’t have time to stop and feel sorry for yourself.

“You wonder how you will be able to cope with it but you get adrenalin and the strength from somewhere and you get on with it.

“Mark has been amazing and has taken whatever treatment has been thrown at him, which has made it easier for us.”

Mark is training hard for a 70km bike ride to raise funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

The gruelling Back o’ Skiddaw Sportive is on Sunday, May 18. Mark has already smashed his fundraising target of £600 by nearly £150.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to it – it has given me a new lease of life.”

Sponsor Mark at www.justgiving.com/mark-reay67.

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