After weeks of training recovering cancer patient, Peter Mainwaring from Swindon, is set to walk 30 miles from Oxford to Swindon on Saturday 1 April to raise funds for Brighter Futures’ Radiotherapy Appeal.
Peter knows the 70 mile round journey all too well, after travelling to Oxford for 37 days to receive radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer at the end of 2016, celebrating his final treatment on New Year’s Day.
Over eight weeks Peter travelled 2,500 miles for treatment, which he believes only adds to the stress, anxiety and exhaustion which comes with a cancer diagnosis.
Peter said: “If we had a radiotherapy unit in Swindon it would have saved me an awful lot of travelling and precious time.
“Travelling every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 November to the 1 January, I was reminded how rubbish the traffic on the A420 to Oxford is.
“Although the treatment itself did not take too long, there is understandably a lot of waiting around and the long journey really does take its toll.
“Luckily I didn’t suffer too much from the side effects of radiotherapy which meant I was able to drive myself the majority of the time, but I can imagine how much more horrendous the journey would be for patients suffering badly.
“Having a radiotherapy unit in Swindon would have made such a difference during my treatment, not only for me but for my family.
“I’m supporting Brighter Futures’ Radiotherapy Appeal as I know how much it will help other local families facing cancer.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me and made a donation.”
Peter’s route includes footpaths, bridleways and minor roads and should take approximately 10 hours.
The small group of friends and family including Peter’s children, Kate and Neil, will be taking their first steps at around 7am Saturday morning from the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, before heading along the Thames and past the Oxford Brookes University campus.
The walkers will then head towards Shrivenham, after stopping for lunch at Shellingford Community Hall which marks their half way stop at around 18 miles.
They will then head towards Wanborough and expect to reach the Great Western Hospital between 6.30pm and 7pm Saturday evening.
Peter has raised an impressive £5,700 so far thanks to sponsorship from friends, family, colleagues and employer Vodafone who will match the amount raised up to £350.
Thames Water will be supporting the walk by providing bottles of water and friends, family and well-wishers will be waiting on the finish line at the Great Western hospital to celebrate their return. Isambard Community School are also showing their support with the loan of a minibus.
Peter is one of 700 patients a year who make the grueling 70-mile round trip to Oxford for radiotherapy treatment, typically lasting from four to seven weeks.
Brighter Furfures needs to raise £2.9 million to fund specialist equipment for a new radiotherapy unit at the Great Western Hospital, which will be run by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The appeal recently hit the £1.5 million half way point and has received a wealth of support from local organisations such as the Swindon Advertiser, Rotary Clubs, Stratton Sainsbury’s and Swindon Will Writing, among many others.
Head of Fundraising for Brighter Futures, Catherine Newman, said: “It really is people like Peter who make a difference. It’s about all pulling together as a community and bringing radiotherapy to Swindon.
“I wish Peter and his team the best of luck with his challenge on Saturdayand encourage everyone to show their support. I hope it inspires other local people to take the plunge and start more fundraising challenges.
“Every penny you raise will help us bring this vital cancer treatment to Swindon, so please don’t stop now and help us reach our £2.9 million target!”
To support Peter on his walk please visit www.justgiving.com/
Find out more about the Radiotherapy Appealwww.brighterfuturesgwh.nhs.uk