I hope this does not infringe the forum rules however if this type of post is not allowed please can a member of staff remove it for me.
This year it is time to try and make a difference, this year I have committed to helping a gentleman who is not only a work colleague of mine but whom I consider a friend. For me John Bonthrone is a very special individual, a man who against all odds has fought his way back from the brink, a man who always puts others before himself, a true inspiration to everyone who has the privilege to meet him.
I met John 2 and a half years ago, when he returned to work after suffering from Osteosarcoma. A form of bone cancer which very nearly killed him. When John was diagnosed he was just 41 years old, he had a wife (Amber) and a 10 year old daughter (Leigh). Due to the size and location of the tumor the prognosis did not look good, most medical professionals did not believe John would see out another year but despite all of this he is here with us today.
Johns tumor started on one of his ribs, it then grew down the inside of his rib age before attaching itself to his spine. By the time he was on the operating table the tumor was the size o a melon and doctors gave him only a 50% chance of surviving the op with a 50% chance if he did of paralysis if he did make it through the 56hr operation. During the operation they removed 7 vertebrae and 4 ribs, 2 titanium rods were inserted down the length of his spine and bolted together, a femur bone was grafted in to replace some of the bone removed and curved titanium rods were inserted to replace the removed ribs, they took muscle from Johns arm to replace some of the lost tissue.
During the 56hr operation surgeons worked slowly to cut away the tumor to minimise the nerve damage however Johns right leg was badly affected. Post op recovery involved intensive physiotherapy sessions twice a day, John recalls they ‘they pushed me but wiped me out, they are probably the reason I can walk today’ He still suffers permanent pins and needles in his right leg and foot today but takes regular doses of painkillers to keep the pain manageable.
Gracious of all they did for his family during his time in hospital and subsequent road to recovery John has recruited and entered a team of colleagues into the Maggies Monster Challenge to raise money for the Maggies Care Centres the previous two years and has done so again this year.
When you talk to John you can really understand just how much Maggies Centres helped not only himself but Amber and Leigh, they offered a sympathetic ear, they offered support and advice which seems to me like it was invaluable in getting John and his family through.
When John asked if I would like to join his team I didn’t need asking twice, although I appreciate this is no easy challenge.
Our challenge is to complete a 31.5 mile XC cycle from Neptunes Staircase through the Great Glen to Fort Augustus where we will swap the bikes for our hiking boots and attempt to complete a 41.2 mile hike up the West coast of Loch Ness all the way to the ‘gold finish’ in Inverness.
There are six of us participating in our team, Jim Watson, Callum Easton and Scott McArthur are our veterans all of whom completed the challenge last year. This year Steve Gardiner, Katy Marples and myself (Iain Anderson) will take on the challenge for the first time.
If you would like to see more information regarding the challenge please click onto the Maggies Monster website here:
Details of the route can be found here:
Route map - Monster Challenge Map - Maggies Centres
With a little under 8 weeks to go until the event on the 3rd and 4th of May 2014 the fundraising appears to be falling quite far short of what we had hoped to achieve. The minimum we, as a team must raise is £2,250 we are currently at only 56% (£1,265). The event as a whole looks to raise enough money to run a centre for 1 year, £500,000 and the current total is only £45,577.
With this in mind I appeal to you to pledge whatever you can to what is undoubtedly a worthy cause, please help us not only meet our target of £2,250 but to exceed this by as large a margin as we can and to ensure the Maggies Centres can continue to provide help and support to those who most need it.
I f you feel you can help I have provided a link below which will take you to the ‘Just Giving’ page.
Team Amec is fundraising for Maggies Centres
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and a special thank you to all of those who were kind enough to donate.