Stratford man with terminal cancer to cycle Land's End to John O'Groats
- Credit: Zoe Homer
A man with terminal cancer is cycling 900 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise awareness of sarcomas.
Gareth Emmerson, from Stratford, has been battling the rare Ewing sarcoma since it was diagnosed in his pelvis when he was 21.
Now 28, the warehouse manager beat the disease - which affects the bones and surrounding tissue - three times. But each time it struck back more aggressively.
Last year, Gareth found out it had spread to his lungs, lymph nodes and brain - from where a tumour was removed in November.
But the cancer has not stopped the Liverpool FC fan in his tracks as he prepare to cycle up to 90 miles a day across the country with dad Andy, fiancée Zoe Homer and four friends.
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"I'm really looking forward to it. It's given me a positive mindset and something to focus on which has taken my mind away from the cancer," Gareth said.
He added chemotherapy means his muscles take longer to recover, but he is pushing past that to train, including by cycling to University College Hospital where he is being treated.
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During the 12-day ride, Gareth plans to take a break from treatment. Medics will reduce his drugs dosage so the side effects are less severe too.
On the prospect of reaching the country's northernmost point, Gareth said: "It's going to be overwhelming. I can imagine it will be a big bit of emotion, especially having close friends and family around me."
Gareth has already raised more than £20,000 for the charity Sarcoma UK which funds research and offers support. He is hoping to raise £25,000, if not more.
"They need the funds for new treatments I could potentially have, or people like me. There's nothing that can cure it and that's been the same for 40 years.
"I want to raise as much awareness and funds to help people in the future that find themselves in my position," Gareth said.
Sarcomas can affect any part of the body, including bones, tendons, blood vessels and fatty tissue. According to Sarcoma UK, 15 people are diagnosed in this country every day.
Gareth is due to leave Land's End on June 8. You can follow his progress on Instagram @gaz_emmerson
To sponsor, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/TeamGazEmmerson