Some of you may have heard that my dear brother Charlie passed away from cancer over the summer.
As you might imagine, this leaves an immense hole in our family, and those who were lucky enough to meet him know just how deeply his warmth and kindness will be missed by those around him.
Charlie was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare and aggressive tumour that attacks soft tissue. He bravely battled the illness for three years, including with difficult treatments and multiple surgeries.
A few months after his initial diagnosis, he dared me to run the London Marathon with him – an offer I nervously accepted. The rest is history – and will be his real legacy to all of us.
As well as training around Surrey’s beautiful countryside with Charlie in the run up to our first marathon in October 2022, I did a second in April.
Overall I managed to raise over £70,000 for the new Cancer and Surgical Innovation Centre for the Royal Surrey, bringing our total contributions as a community to more than £300,000. Charlie’s friends also raised more than £100,000 for Sarcoma UK in the April marathon.
Many of you – like me – have lost loved ones to cancer and the new centre will make an immense difference to cancer treatment locally.
It will treat 7,000 more patients each year, which is the equivalent to 28 more per day.
Early diagnosis is crucial if we want to improve survival rates further and the centre will further expand our capacity to treat patients once diagnosed. So out of a great personal sadness will, I hope, come something very positive.