Thank you for taking the time to visit our fundraising page.
Cancer is happening right now, which is why we're fundraising right now for Cancer Research UK. There’s no time to lose!
Donate to our page today and help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
Some of you will know us already but for those who don’t: We are John and Ellie Forbes and we are raising money this time around for Cancer Research UK in memory of Charles Sage – a long time walking companion and close friend who sadly passed away in November of 2018 of bowel cancer
Who are we?
A good number of you may already know one or both of us. For those who do not, it's worth perhaps explaining a bit about what makes us tick.
Health-wise we have been relatively lucky in life with many things to be grateful for. Many other people are not so lucky and need somewhere or someone to turn to for support at their moment of greatest need.
That said, luck, when you have it, can be a significant force for good to help those others who are not so lucky, not able to help themselves and who need support, particularly to help them deal with what is undoubtedly the most daunting thing most of us will ever experience if we ever have to deal with a diagnosis of cancer.
Ellie and I are all about using our luck, wherever we can, to help other people to help themselves and that is why we are raising funds for Cancer Research UK.
What are we doing and when?
We are raising much needed funds for Cancer Research UK to support the organisation in its quest to research into all forms of cancer.
We are running a sponsored event which involves both of us walking the entire 84 miles of the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail over a period of eight days commencing on 1st October 2019.
Why are we doing it?
Cancer Research UK is one of the leading charities supporting research into cancer and is the charity Charles asked us to raise funds for in his memory as there is much work still to be done in the field of research into cancer.
Charles Sage was a mate of mine… A very good mate. Others knew him as Lee (one of his middle names).
Over twenty five years ago Charles and I met while travelling to another sponsored event raising funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Society. The objective on that occasion was to climb Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in the UK.
A strong bond of friendship was formed over that long weekend and it endured to the moment of his passing. We both found that we had a common interest in walking in the wild places and it was that interest which was to fire our imaginations and go on to make so many of them a reality. We also went on to take part in many other sponsored events including the Three Peaks challenge (Snowden, Scafell Pike and the Ben in 24 or 48 hours - depending on which particular sadist had organised the event - some were more forgiving than others!)
Over the years we travelled far and wide to walk in all four corners of the UK along a large number of classic walking and scrambling routes and many which weren’t and which could have been better left folded up in the map!
We went up and down many Munros, Corbetts and lesser hills. We walked and climbed in all weathers and often, long before dawn would see us above the clouds looking at civilisation peeping through the gaps a long way below - just beginning to stir about its daily travails. Scenery on the Grand scale was our elixir... We were addicted to it and went about the mountains in search of our next fix... Often what we got was something different but when it all worked out, the rain had stopped, clouds blown away and the sun allowed to shine, we would find ourselves in front of matchless vistas.
In later years Ellie joined us and we spent many more days in the hills walking old favourites and stopping off at the nearest Bothy to shelter or just to rest and eat a hearty meal and have a good blether by the Bothy fire.
Both Ellie and I remember with fondness what would turn out to be our last walk with Charles. It was a round in the Black Mountains above Abergavenny which started off in fair weather but rapidly deteriorated with altitude to a white-out in icy conditions and a severe wind. Needless to say not another soul did we pass all day. When we all got home and were having some supper, Charles mentioned to us that he was off to see the doctor the following day. That turned out to be fateful. It was then mid-January 2017.
While we all held out hope, sadly it was not to be. Charles underwent treatment over a period of a year but in the end – and in a cruel twist of fate, his bowel cancer returned. Because of the earlier diagnosis he received, Charles had in the meantime, arranged to retire early in the hope that he could have some quality in the time that remained to him. However, his second diagnosis arrived on the day of his retirement and he finally passed away in November 2018.
In May of 2018, a few weeks before Charles learned of his last diagnosis, I started on a parallel course of diagnostic testing for the same condition. Very fortunately, I was given the all clear after a series of tests.
Since then and once you start talking about it to others, you find out there are plenty of people who have been down the same road. That probably means at least two things… we’re not talking enough about it generally and, it’s not an uncommon condition about which more needs to be done to effect a cure or at least perfect what is currently available. It all requires research.
Before he was given his diagnosis, Charles and I used frequently to talk about the walks we would do once he had retired, revisiting old favourites and doing some new ones including Hadrian's Wall, so it's not just a random choice to walk the Wall at this juncture.
On 1st October Ellie and I are off down a little Roman relict called Hadrian's Wall, all 84 miles of it. Normally this long distance path is walked East - West if for no other reason than to avoid the city finish in Wallsend, Newcastle.
Because of the time of year we will be doing the walk (Autumn winds, rain and potentially flood tides submerging the route at the Solway Firth end etc) we felt it best to buck the trend and start at the Western end (At Bowness-on-Solway) before the flood tides arrive and, with the wind on our backs, walk east as far as 30 or so miles from the eastern end and then skip to Wallsend and finish the walk by walking West over the remaining part of the trail to finish at a little place called Chollerford.
we'll have a tracker on us backed up by a page on the internet with a map of the trail tracking our progress. More details of this will be given here later and on a separate blog, details of which will be released nearer the start of the walk.
Our blog will keep all sponsors up to date on our progress.
What is our contribution apart from using two pairs of legs?
We are defraying all of the costs of the event including all the costs of organising the trek, all travel to and from, all overnight accommodation costs and all meals as well as the costs of all equipment and of keeping adequate backup and a support available in case of injury or other unforeseen events along the way. Cancer Research UK has no involvement in any of the costs.
How you can help?
We would be extremely grateful if you would consider helping us in our aim by donating whatever you feel able to this just cause. To this end, we have set this page up to make things as simple as possible. You can donate directly via the donate button on this page.
We have not set a limit on the amount we want to raise, as every penny helps - no matter how much is raised. However, we have set an initial target of £2,000 though and hope to exceed this. And, you can carry on giving even after we have completed the walk as this page will be open for a while afterwards to enable people to give to such a worthy cause.