AN INSPIRATIONAL cancer survivor from Worcester has pledged to take on the UK’s toughest endurance challenges to raise money for blind military veterans.
Andrew Graham was only given three months to live after being diagnosed with terminal throat, mouth and jaw cancer in 2002.
But against all the odds, 12 years later the 50-year-old is still going strong and has tackled dozens of marathons, ultra distance marathons and endurance challenges to raise money for charity, including Blind Veterans UK.
Andrew said he thought his fitness played a big part in him surviving.
“It was a huge shock when I was first diagnosed with cancer, especially with such a poor prognosis,” he said.
“My kids were five and two, and my first thought was worrying about them.
“I had a partial glossectomy to remove the cancerous bit of my tongue, as well as my jaw and sections of my throat, and I had to be fed through a tube for over a year.
“Fortunately, I was very fit physically at the time and the doctors said that was a big factor in me pulling through.”
Andrew has now set himself the task of raising £2,750 for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision impaired ex-service men and women, by completing a series of gruelling challenges this year.
Having already run the London Marathon and several ultra distance marathons in 2014, Andrew still has two ultra-marathons, the John’O’Groats to Land’s End run and an extreme cycling event left to tackle.
Most recently, Andrew completed Blind Veterans UK’s 100k trek from London to Brighton.
“There’s a certain poignancy in running ultra distance marathons or walking events like the 100k to raise money for blind people,” he added.
“The best thing about events like the 100k is the amazing scenery – scenery that blind people can’t experience in the same way as fully-sighted people.
“It’s such a wonderful feeling doing events you enjoy and are challenged by in order to raise money for great causes like Blind Veterans UK.”
An Army veteran himself, Andrew served in the Royal Green Jackets from 1980 and 1987.
Having served in Germany, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Canada, Andrew now runs Graham Consultancy, a motivational speaking and training outfit which works with homeless people to give them the skills to get back into work.
To sponsor Andrew on his challenges, visit www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Graham13.