Anything Possible - Dave Fletcher

Previously I’d already survived:           Hodgkin’s lymphoma 1999       Germ cell Tumour cancer 2009      Skin Cancer 2013       Testicular cancer 2015

But in February 2016 I was told the Germ cell cancer had returned and that it was very aggressive, I was sent to St James’s hospital in Leeds as my local cancer hospital in Hull were unable to treat me with the suitable chemotherapy. I was to stay a week at a time and have chemotherapy 12hrs a day. 

stem cell treatment april 2016

The 1st question I asked was, If I defer my Manchester Marathon and LCW Wales places will I be able to do them the following year? You may never fully recover from this treatment as your body has already gone through enough chemotherapy in the past, it could be terminal, so forget about racing for now. I was told. But that’s not how I work! I really do believe you need to set yourself a target when you’re ill so you’ve got something to aim for. Well it seems to work for me!

I was given the all clear in early November after Stem cell treatment, 4 brutal rounds of chemo and 2 big operations. 

home after chemo may 2016

I’d already started running and cycling by this time and I achieved my target of running the marathon in the April. I managed to get round in 3hr26mins but my big sporting challenge was still to come in 2017 ‘The LCW Wales’. I’d never done anything like that before, I trained like a beast and finished 42nd overall, I was also filmed throughout the event for the television coverage on Channel 4. It was such a challenge but when I find something hard I always look back to those chemo sessions and think nothing is as hard as that so to me anything is possible. That quote fits in perfectly with the next challenge I set myself. It was to qualify for the European age group Duathlon championships in Ibiza (I like to set easy goals lol). In the qualifying race (Oct 2017) I managed to pull my calf on the 1st run, still having a 40k bike and 5k run to go I had a choice, quit or break myself! My leg told me to stop running so I tried to walk then my leg told me to just get to that finish line as I’d rather be in this pain than lying in that hospital bed having chemo. I still don’t know how I finished that race to this day. After a few athletes pulled out I was offered a roll down place in Ibiza through my finishing time.

By the time my 40th birthday came round on 23rd November 2017 my calf had been treated and had fully recovered thank goodness because I had planned to run 40 miles on my 40th to raise money for my local cancer hospital, as they had been given some land and needed funds to build an all weather garden for cancer patients and their visiting families. For my planned route I included previous schools I had attended when I was younger, All the schools fully embraced this event of ‘fitness and wellbeing’ by getting the children to run round the school grounds with me. The day was magical and with the support of family and friends I managed to raise over £5000 for the hospital.

DSC04786

I completed my 1st ever Ironman in July 2018 then in October I was off to Ibiza, Seen as I was probably the slowest Brit in my age group to qualify I was expecting to have a hard race near the back of the field but I ended up having the race of my life finishing 5th in my age group and I was actually the 1st British athlete to finish. My family were all there as my brother was also competing in his age group, it was such an amazing/emotional weekend, one I’ll never forget.

Dave Run

 As I write this I am having a bit of a rest from training but as you can probably guess, I’ve already set goals for 2019. 

Here goes.... 
I’m planning on running the Manchester Marathon sub 3hr as I’ve always dreamed of a sub 3 Marathon then I’ll be aiming to medal for Britain at the Euros as I was only a few minutes off in Ibiza. You never know as the 5xCancerKid says ‘Anything Is Possible’.