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Royal Mail worker runs half marathon in father’s memory

Gary Ware, from Canterbury, has decided to run the London Landmarks Half Marathon, in honour of his father, and close friends and family who have been affected by cancer.

Gary Ware and his parents

Image: Gary with his parents. Credit: Gary Ware

'Cancer research means a lot to me'

Gary, who works as a manager at Royal Mail’s Medway Mail Centre, will be running the London Landmarks Half Marathon in April 2022 to raise money for The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), in London.

“The main reason I’m running is because cancer research means a lot to me,” said Gary. “Cancer has had a massive impact on my life.”

“In July 2017, I lost my dad, Terry, to mantle cell lymphoma. He was very poorly throughout, and it was a terrible time. Dad was diagnosed in October 2016, and had chemotherapy, but they told him there was no cure, so he was placed on medication to prolong his life.”

“Dad had worked as a police officer in Canterbury for 20 years, then worked for a local steel company. He was very social, he loved his holidays with Mum, and he loved fishing and football.

“He also loved his grandchildren, and his time with them was very precious. When Dad became very poorly, I remember him sitting there, shaking his head, thinking ‘how have I got to this’.”

Gary’s father spent a lot of time in hospital while he was unwell, and Gary would visit him as often as he could.

“The hospital was quite close to my house, so I used to see him a lot. Some weeks, I’d see him every day, even if it was just popping in for 20 minutes in the morning to say hello.”

Sadly, Terry passed away on 20 July 2017. Gary decided to run for the ICR, which has an unrivalled track record in cancer drug discovery, as he wants to make a difference to others who might be going through the same thing. 

Our scientists are leading research to help patients living with lymphoma and other blood cancers. They are studying the biology of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system, to improve diagnosis and develop tailored treatments. 

Learn more about our blood cancer research

'I want to make a difference'

Gary Ware with his partner, Michelle, and his parents

Image: Gary with his partner Michelle and his parents. Credit: Gary Ware

“This fundraiser is very personal to me. As well as losing my dad, I also lost a really close friend to cancer in April 2020. Tim was only 51 when he died of leukaemia, and he spent a lot of his time going in and out of hospital. We lost Tim during Covid, and we never had the opportunity to celebrate his life, although we will all be attending a memorial service for Tim on 26 March this year.

“My sister-in-law Orla was diagnosed with breast cancer quite recently. She’s just finished chemotherapy, and has her surgery booked in for 1 April, and then she’ll have radiotherapy. Orla has had a tough time all round, and this adds to my reasons for supporting ICR.”

Gary originally set his fundraising total as £500, but he has been overwhelmed by the generosity of his friends and family, which he says really does reflect the impact cancer has had on all of our lives. Gary has raised over £1000, and he hopes to keep pushing the total as the race gets closer.

“I’ve seen a lot of people come through cancer which is amazing, and I want to help anyone who is diagnosed. I want to make a difference.”

To donate, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gary-ware

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