Wednesday 22nd May 2019
Simon Blissett knows more than most about what it is like to be the parent to a young person with cancer: two of his sons were diagnosed with cancer just a few months apart.
Alex is still going through treatment at the Poole Hospital but Lucas sadly died 9 months after his diagnosis.
Simon has been tirelessly fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust ever since his sons’ diagnoses, raising a staggering £23,750 to date. But Simon's fundraising aspirations are huge and he keeps coming up with more and more ways to bring the money in, such as taking on the Isle of Wight Challenge.
Tanya Appleby took part in the challenge with Simon. Since losing her son, Vinnie, to leukemia three years ago, Tanya and her husband Carl have fundraised to help open two new teenager and young adult rooms at the Poole Hospital.
Simon and Tanya's Isle of Wight Challengers raised an amazing £14,171.14 in sponsorship, along with team members Becky Clark, Mel Curley, Miriam Green, Aimee Davidson and Simon Downey. It has been a tough challenge for them all, but they did it for Lucas, for Vinnie and for all the young people who are facing cancer, including Alex.
The Isle of Wight Challenge isn’t for the faint-hearted! Part of the Ultra Challenge Series, participants walk or run the length of the coast of the island, taking in sandy beaches, clifftops and stunning views around the undulating coastline. Beginning and ending in Chale in the south, the course is 106km long and takes in a climb of over 2,100 metres!
"I was never in doubt that I would complete the course," said Simon. “The reason I chose to complete this challenge was I wanted to put my body through something physically and mentally challenging. My goodness this certainly did that!”
Simon found the challenge tough but youngest son Spencer joined the team for three hours of the walk which gave them all a huge boost and helped rally Simon.
"The positive energy over the whole course was just incredible, something that will stay with me forever," he said. "The standout moment was when the sun was up at 8am, it was warm and I was counting down the remaining 10km. I chose to pick up the pace by myself so that I could have some 'me time' on my own for the last few kilometres."
Up on the highest point, surrounded by the sea and all alone looking across to the finish line, I looked up to the sky and told Lucas this was for him.