Rowan Sutherland, 69, isn’t letting debilitating Multiple Myeloma stage 3 cancer stop him from raising funds for a Poole Hospice.
The Swanage resident is to walk four miles along the Purbeck hills to Corfe Castle to raise money for Forest Holme Hospice Charity.
Rowan first began experiencing pain in July 2018, just 17 months after he had retired, which he assumed was down to a strain, as he was extremely active playing badminton and tennis, as well as cycling and walking 30 miles every month.
He said, “I went to the doctors and they thought it might be a strain, so over the remainder of the year I carried on as normal and even went back to the doctors but still no alarm bells.”
However, just before Christmas he set off for Portugal, driving down through France and Spain, thinking that with rest and sunshine he would improve but ended up almost unable to move. He returned to the UK in early January and went back to the doctors, where a blood test showed up a problem and a further blood test led to a same day urgent appointment at Poole Hospital Haematology Department, where further x-rays, scans and a biopsy revealed Multiple Myeloma stage 3.
Rowan, added, “I left Poole Hospital 14 days later having been told I had 90 per cent fractures to my spine and fractures to the sternum which had almost broken in two. While I was lucky not to be paralysed, I was 25cm shorter and weighed a little over eight stone, down from my previous 13 stone.”
Rowan was finally taken home in a wheelchair and spent a long-time getting stronger with treatment and care from a wonderful supportive wife, family, friends and dedicated care team. All through this time he was walking little steps around his local park getting further and further month on month, while looking enviously at the surrounding hills which inspired his challenge.
Rowan, explains, “The reason I’m fundraising for Forest Holme is that while I was in Poole Hospital at the beginning of my journey, the hospice was arranging transfer of a fellow patient whose partner was unable to cope with the situation at home. Then I moved forward to this year and having set my target to walk to Corfe, I started reading all the stories on the Forest Holme Hospice website and I knew instantly that is who I wanted to support.”
So far Rowan has raised nearly £1,500 for the Poole-based hospice which delivers end-of-life care and support to more than 1,000 local people each year with advanced cancer and other life-limiting illnesses across Poole, Wimborne and Isle of Purbeck. You can donate via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rowan-sutherland
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