Sunderland grandad fighting cancer begins five marathons in five days with London Marathon

Richard Wilson competeing in a run in Thirsk. Photo by Karen Newton.
Richard Wilson competeing in a run in Thirsk. Photo by Karen Newton.
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A grandfather will mark five years since he was diagnosed with cancer by tackling a five-fold marathon challenge.

Richard Wilson, from Barnes, was told he had lymphoma after he found a lump on the side of his neck when he was shaving.

Richard and wife Denise changed their lifestyle after his cancer diagnosis.

Richard and wife Denise changed their lifestyle after his cancer diagnosis.

A scan later found another tumour in his groin, with his doctors telling him it is an incurable form of the blood disease, with yearly checks ensuring it has not spread or advanced.

The 63-year-old and his wife Denise, 66, decided his diagnosis was a wake up call to look after their health and have since transformed their lifestyle.

They have concentrated on changing their diet and strengthening their faith in Christianity, while Richard has become a member of Sunderland Strollers.

His passion for running has led him to set on his 5alive Challenge, will see him aim to raise £5,555 for St Benedict’s Hospice to mark “five years great health.”

When it first happened, I went into my shell, I didn’t want to read up on anything about it at all.

Richard Wilson

It will begin tomorrow when he takes part in the Virgin London Marathon for the second time, with his sights set on beating his time two years ago, when he completed it in 4 hours, 13 minutes and 19 seconds.

On Monday, the grandfather-of-five will take to the Everyone Active track at Silkworth to complete 105.5 laps.

On Tuesday, he will set out on the Love My City Believe in Sunderland event, which will see him say prayers for Sunderland at its Civic Centre, before running to Keel Square, then following the Sunderland 10K route, the city’s half-marathon route and then the 10k course again.

Wednesday’s task will see him join in the Stollers Do Sedgefield Marathon, with a run from Ashbrooke Sports Ground to the seafront and back and then a further 19 miles to Sedgefield, when he will join in the town’s Neptune Relays, another 1.7 miles.

Richard Wilson running in his Sunderland Stollers kit.

Richard Wilson running in his Sunderland Stollers kit.

The challenge will come to a close on Thursday, when the Sainsbury’s store plays host on Thursday as it takes to a treadmill to complete the distance from 2pm until around 7pm.

Richard, who is dad to Kimberley Huitson, 32, Natalie Cowell, 34, Christopher, 22, Vicky, 35, and Marisa Greenfield, 38, said: “When I realised it would be five years coming up and it coincided with the London Marathon, which I got a place for through my club’s ballot.

“So I started thinking about involving the number five.

“It was suggested I started with London and then do four others, and I wanted to do something for St Benedict’s because we’ve got a family history with the hospice and it has helped us before.

“When it first happened, I went into my shell, I didn’t want to read up on anything about it at all.

“I had a couple of months, doing the wrong things and eating what I liked and feeling sorry for myself and then Denise and I had a chat and I said I was going to get fit and so I joined the Strollers in August 2012 and changed my diet.”

As part of their lifestyle change, the Wilsons have ditched carbohydrates including bread, rice and pasta, ready meals and any foods with additives in and concentrated on a high protein intake of eggs, meat, fruit and vegetables and full fat versions of diary.

Richard, who is semi-retired and along with Denise works at Natalie and Kimberley’s Wilsons Convenience store in Queen Alexandra Road, is an elder at the Hope Church in Hendon, where he and Denise help run marriage counselling sessions and help support the chapel’s pastor.

More can be found via facebook.com/the5alivechallenge/ and through Twitter @5alive2017 on Twitter, with donations made by visiting http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RichardWilson5alive.