Grantham teacher beat cancer and is now giving back
A school teacher who was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer when he was just 28 years old is taking part in the biggest half marathon in the UK.
Gareth Bennett, of Beacon Lane, Grantham, signed up for the Great North Run in Newcastle next month to raise funds for Bowel Cancer UK and to thank everyone who supported him through his illness.
Now aged 37, Gareth, who works as a science teacher at Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School (KGGS), is still under regular observation but admits that it could have been a lot different if his wife hadn’t persuaded him to go to the doctors when he started experiencing symptoms.
He added: “I was reluctant to go at first as I just thought it would be nothing to worry about and that I would be wasting the doctors time, so when I did finally go and was told that I had advanced bowel cancer two days before my 29th birthday, shock was an understatement.”
The operation to remove the tumour on his bowel a month later was successful but Gareth was struck down with a series of infections including MRSA and was transferred to the intensive care unit in Lincoln.
After recovering, he was started on an intensive course of chemotherapy as part of a clinical trial.
Gareth said: “It was a different kind of treatment instead of the traditional methods. Being so young, I was the right fit for the course and as a scientist I was intrigued about the trial. The only way to improve things is to have the opportunity to trial these kinds of methods.”
The clinical trial was funded by Cancer Research UK at a cost of £1,500 so in 2013, Gareth completed the Three Peaks Challenge to raise enough money for someone else to benefit from the trial too.
But hoping to raise more funds for the charities that helped him including Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Bowel Cancer UK, Gareth, who is now a dad of two young children, took up running and started training for the Great North Run.
To donate, please visit:www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gareth-bennett16