The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is supporting a bowel cancer patient who is travelling to the Island to complete a marathon as part of an epic six-month fundraising mission.
Ben Ashworth began his challenge in April, completing the Blackpool Marathon, and on August 10th he will line up for the Isle of Man Marathon, the fifth of the six 26.2-mile runs he plans to complete by the end of September.
As well as assisting the 35-year-old with travel to and from the Island for the marathon, the Steam Packet Company has also ensured his wife Louise and their daughters Skye, Isobel and Heidi can come over to cheer him on.
Ben, from Preston, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in March 2012, the same month he had planned to take on his first ever marathon. He underwent bowel surgery, chemotherapy, liver surgery and further, unsuccessful, chemotherapy over the following months. In February last year Ben was told his cancer was terminal and his prognosis was just six to 12 months.
Fortunately, Ben has received a form of treatment which has held the cancer at bay, allowing him to undertake his marathon challenge of completing six gruelling runs in just six months.
He is raising money for charities Clic Sargant, MacMillan, Beating Bowel Cancer and Rosemere, a unit where he has received treatment.
Ben said: ‘Being a young patient, I want to show my young daughters that my positive spirit has endured, that I haven’t merely succumbed to cancer and I won’t let illness get in the way of living my life and realising my dreams.
‘We’ll never stop fighting and living life and running is key to my resistance. Even though I have terminal cancer (they can’t cure me) my current treatment is working and I’m surprised about how much I can do.
‘The charities I’m raising money for have helped and supported us as a family or, in the case of Clic Sargent, have touched us with the amazing work they do. One thing I’ve been very grateful for is that it’s me that’s ill, not my girls and Clic Sargent does wonderful work in supporting children with cancer and their families. Rosemere is the unit where I receive treatment and is home to some truly amazing doctors, nurses, volunteers and staff. MacMillan and Beating Bowel Cancer have been with us from day one offering advice and support for my family as and when it’s been needed.
‘I am determined to make this a huge success and any support that can be given is hugely appreciated. I have learned first-hand the importance of charity work and really want to give something back while I can.’
Ben added: ‘I would like to say a huge thank you to the Steam Packet Company for helping us with the cost of travelling to the Isle of Man. I’m really looking forward to the marathon, but also to spending some time in the Island with my family as we’ve never been before.
‘Many of our friends have visited and said great things about the Island, so the whole family is excited about the trip and having this time together.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We are very pleased to be able to help Ben as he continues his fundraising mission. His positive attitude towards his cancer is truly inspirational, and the challenge of completing six marathons in just six months shows what a determined and motivated person can achieve.
‘I hope Ben raises lots of money for, and awareness of, the important charities he is running for, and has a very successful event at the Isle of Man Marathon, as well as a wonderful few days with his family in our beautiful Island.’
You can find out more about the challenge at www.bensbowelmovements.com and follow Ben’s progress on Twitter at @ChemoDadRuns
Photograph: Ben Ashworth with his wife Louise and their daughters