Since his dad, Michael was diagnosed with lung cancer during the pandemic, Anthony has found solace in running. When he heard how much his dad benefitted from our lung cancer information booklets, he was determined to take on a challenge of his own to give something back.
Together with 12 other family members – aged between 9 and 47 – The Butterworth family completed a variety of runs over the space of 10 days in their local areas around the country to raise awareness of lung cancer.
“When we found out that Dad had lung cancer, it came as a shock to all of us. Both Dad’s Grandfather and Mother had lung cancer, so he always made sure to look after himself and chose to live in a smoke-free environment, so it was even more of a shock. We now understand other environmental factors – such as air pollution – are known causes of the disease.
Except for a bad back, Dad had not suffered from any of the more obvious symptoms like breathlessness or a persistent cough. In fact, Dad was diagnosed with secondary cancers on his spine before we later found out where the primary cancer was. Even after ‘googling’ symptoms (never advised), Dad didn’t, for one moment, consider that he had lung cancer.
Despite feeling frustrated with his diagnosis, Dad sets himself exercise targets from the Living with lung cancer booklet. He has found the booklet an excellent source of knowledge; with summaries on how to approach lung cancer, helpful tips on looking after your mental health, attitude and keeping fit.
Breathing can be something people living with lung cancer struggle with, as having the disease reduces how well your lungs work – there is a whole chapter in the booklet on breathing exercises which Dad has found really helpful.
Roy’s Runners – assemble!
For me, the hardest thing since learning of Dad’s diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer is not being able to spend time with him. Apart from a brief visit immediately after his diagnosis, I have not seen Dad for six months. I have spent a lot of time thinking about him and, when he started treatment to manage his lung cancer, I wondered how I could support him in other ways.
Since dad had benefitted from Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s literature, it seemed fitting to use my own lungs (and feet!) to raise money for the charity. Never one to do things by halves, I decided to set a personal challenge to run 10k a day for 10 days. I discussed my plan with my siblings and Dad’s grandchildren who were each inspired to get involved, setting their own personal challenges over the 10-day period.
We started running on 20th January and completed our last run on 29th January – this is also the day our youngest sibling finished his final mock A-level exam paper, so the timing worked well! We all had a drink together on Zoom after our last run to celebrate our achievements.
Like many families across the country, we have missed seeing one another. Pre-pandemic, we would regularly visit each other. Completing our challenges together has been a perfect opportunity for us all to stay connected – while staying apart. The sense of unity was amazing, we spurred each other on with motivational posts, photos and tips for avoiding running injuries, as well as raising awareness and funds for the charity through our social media channels.
What started from one idea on a muddy walk, ended up consisting of 13 family members all running with a shared purpose – to raise funds and awareness of lung cancer.
It was a personal challenge for all of us. We picked a particularly cold month to complete this challenge and, at times, it was physically tough. Knowing that each step we took raised awareness and money for such an important cause spurred us on to the next. We were blown away with the flood of donations and well-wishes we received from all our supporters, which has helped us smash our fundraising total. We hope that our efforts will encourage other families to find and overcome their own personal challenges in the future.”