A Keynsham man in rehab from a very rare form of cancer is taking on Snowdon as part of his recovery and urging others to adopt their own fundraising ‘Stomp’ in support of cancer charity Penny Brohn UK.
James Lovell, 40, father of two and head of water recycling with Wessex Water, was diagnosed in June 2020 with Primary Mediastinal Lymphoma, a form of cancer which usually only affects women aged 35 or more, but for which – caught early enough – there is a good prognosis.
James has now been given the all-clear after a successful course of treatment at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, and as part of his physical recovery is taking on Snowdon with a small group of friends and family and using the opportunity to raise money for Penny Brohn UK, as part of STOMP - the charity’s annual sponsored walk – which takes place this year on Saturday October 2 along any route the participants choose.
Walkers in Bristol may join the Covid-safe eight-mile group walk, starting from Penny Brohn UK’s picturesque national centre in Pill, or they may participate anywhere they choose, even from home, by completing the distance wherever suits them on the same day.
James said: “I would carve up the impact of cancer on you as a person as 30% impact on your body and 70% impact on your mind. It’s just something you cannot block out, you carry the ‘what-ifs, buts and maybes’ with you during treatment and beyond which can be a real challenge.
“That's where Penny Brohn UK came in, because it’s thanks to them that I know how to look after myself now, so I’m tackling Snowdon as part of their annual STOMP, and I’m really keen to spread the word about the great work they do.”
Chemotherapy was “tough but manageable” for James. When he felt unwell it made him think the treatment was working, but he found the mental challenge far greater.
James continued: “It was just after my second round of chemo that I got in touch with Penny Brohn UK.
“From then on, I met with Janey twice a week for relaxation and mindfulness sessions. I also met with nutritionist Nicky, who helped overhaul my diet, and physical therapist Alisa, who helped me maintain my physical fitness during treatment.
“This brilliant charity is an incredible line of support; an amazing group of people who dedicate their lives to people with cancer.
“I feel like my relationship with Penny Brohn UK has only just begun. I want to thank them for everything they have done and continue to do for me. I’m determined to give back to the charity, to help ensure other people like me can access their services and get the support they vitally need.”
James has shared his full story here and is hoping it will inspire more people to get involved with STOMP, the charity’s annual sponsored walk this October.
Emma Gilmore, head of events and community for Penny Brohn UK, said, Last year, STOMP went virtual but this year we’ve created a hybrid event with a physical event in Bristol and Stomp My Way – and we’d love as many people as possible to join us, walking at their own pace in their own space.
“Coronavirus has changed the world as we know it. Yet cancer isn’t stopping. Many more people are seeking help and support and the charity urgently needs to raise money to continue to support them.
“By taking part in Stomp you can improve someone’s wellbeing by enabling us to provide support where it is really needed - helping someone with cancer to feel less alone and more connected.
“With appointments and treatments postponed and the ongoing threat of the virus, many people with cancer are frightened and, for many months to come, will remain scared.
“Some feel very lonely and isolated from family and friends as they continue to shield to stay safe - it’s essential they have the right care and support.
“As part of our holistic approach to cancer Penny Brohn UK is providing physical activity sessions, advice to build resilience and self-care resources as a programme of cancer support services that can be found online.
“Everyone taking part in this sponsored walk will be looking after their own wellbeing and at the same time helping people with cancer to live well too.
“All the money raised from Stomp will make sure more people affected by cancer get the help they need to look after their mental and physical wellbeing at one of the most devastating time in their lives.”
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