‘My plan was to be the first Laryngectomee to compete in triathlons’
Back in 2018, Richard was diagnosed with Stage 2 cancer of the vocal cord. After 35 rounds of radiotherapy in Hereford, he began refocusing on getting his health back to what it was and completed a duathlon and a 10K run before starting to feel breathless again. Richard was re-diagnosed in May 2019 and underwent a laryngectomy in July 2019 to remove his voice box.
‘My specialist nurses are Macmillan nurses as is my Speech Therapist, and they have been absolutely fantastic. Over the last three years the support from Macmillan has been superb and the nurses looking after me are all supported by Macmillan.’
Whilst recovering, Richard focused on getting back to taking part in challenges. He aimed to complete Cardiff Half Marathon which was 3 months after his surgery – which he smashed! Looking for bigger challenges, he went on to complete 50K Ultra, three duathlons and three marathons before completing a 100K Ultra marathon in 2021: two years to the day of his surgery.
‘I used the exercise as a means of giving me direction and goals and I’m convinced it helped me to recover quicker.’
During a setback during the pandemic years, Richard hatched his latest plan to complete a half Ironman. The only problem is that people who have had laryngectomy surgery shouldn’t be able to swim due to the hole in their neck. Richard organised to get a special snorkel fitted with help from the wonderful Clare and her team in Royal Exeter Hospital. With additional support from the Hereford Triathlon Club, he was able to train to take on his first-ever triathlon.
‘I have since completed 4 triathlons and took on the 2022 Hever Castle Gauntlet which was a 1.2k swim in a lake, a 50-mile cycle and a 13-mile run. Unfortunately, I suffered hyperthermia during the cycle and had to stop. The guys at Hever were awesome and the support fantastic.’
Richard’s story is truly inspiring and shows what is possible to accomplish after a cancer journey. Richard went on to raise an incredible £565 for Macmillan Cancer Support, which could pay for a Macmillan nurse for 17 hours, helping people living with cancer and their families receive essential medical, practical and emotional support.
‘My last words are for my wonderful wife Ann and my 3 children who have been amazing and kept me going through some very dark times – I have no words to express my thanks.’
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