Sunderland man takes on Ironman to raise funds for charity helping terminal wife

Triathlete Dave Ellis who will be taking part in an Ironman to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice, Sunderland.
Triathlete Dave Ellis who will be taking part in an Ironman to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice, Sunderland.
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A Sunderland man will take on the Austrian ironman to raise funds for the charity supporting his wife as she copes with terminal cancer.

Dave Ellis, 47, will compete in the Austrian Ironman Triathlon hosted in Klagenfurt on Sunday in the hope of raising £3,000 for St Benedict’s Hospice which is caring for his wife Amanda Ellis.

Amanda Ellis has terminal cancer and is supporting her husband Dave Ellis to do an Ironman to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice.

Amanda Ellis has terminal cancer and is supporting her husband Dave Ellis to do an Ironman to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice.

It was meant to be a year of celebration for the couple from Bedford Place, Silksworth, with plans to go on a holiday to the Maldives to mark Amanda being 10 years clear of breast cancer, but in a tragic twist of fate Amanda, 46, was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in the liver and bones in March last year.

Nissan worker Dave, who has taken on many Ironman and triathalon events in the past, decided to take on the Austrian ironman knowing his wife’s love of watching him take part in the sport.

The event will see Dave take part in a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run, one after another, all to be completed within 17 hours.

Dave said: “Eleven years ago my wife Amanda was diagnosed with breast cancer, aged 35, and underwent chemotherapy and other treatments. 
“Last year we planned to celebrate Amanda being 10 years clear of cancer, but it was with much misfortune that three months prior to that milestone in my wife’s life, she was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in the liver and bones. 
“The holiday was finally brought forward by five weeks, but it was no longer a holiday to celebrate being clear, but a holiday where on occasions we were able to talk about the future and start a bucket list.

Triathlete Dave Ellis who will be taking part in an Ironman to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice, Sunderland.

Triathlete Dave Ellis who will be taking part in an Ironman to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice, Sunderland.

“One item on the list Amanda wanted me to do another ironman to raise money for St Benedict’s Hospice with the intention of going to watch me, but due to her health she is no longer able to go.”

Dave who has previously raised money for Macmillan and Breast Cancer Care, has managed to raise £580 so far towards his target for the hospice, which is supporting his wife.

He added: “Amanda was told she would have around two to three years left to live, and even though she is someway off her life expectancy for her condition, she was put in touch with St Benedict’s Hospice when needing pain management advice.

“From them we have had different help and advice both together and individually, giving us the right information is given at the right time, allowing us to cope with the diagnosis.”

Triathlete Dave Ellis who will be taking part in an Ironman to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice, Sunderland.

Triathlete Dave Ellis who will be taking part in an Ironman to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice, Sunderland.

Dave who has received coaching from F4L Coaching, set off for to Austria on June 20 travelling by car with friend Martin Charters, returning home on July 1. He has funded the whole trip himself so any money raised will go directly to the charity.

Dave added: “I am looking forward to it and I will be most grateful for whatever is raised, but we are aiming towards £3,000.

“I also want to give a big thank you to the staff at the Sunderland Royal Chemotherapy Unit who have been amazing.”

Amanda, who is mum to son Chris Roach, 23, added: “I am very proud of Dave, my only regret is that this will be the first Ironman he has done that I have not been able to go to.
“A lot of people think St Benedict’s is a place where people go to die but it’s not, they offer a wide range of facilities and services for people and they have been a massive help to me.”

Triathlete Dave Ellis who will be taking part in an Ironman to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice, Sunderland.

Triathlete Dave Ellis who will be taking part in an Ironman to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice, Sunderland.

To donate visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/David-Ellis20

For information on the coaching, visit: www.f4lcoaching.com