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North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub


ByCancer Research UK NE

Nov 28, 2021


A SUNDERLAND Sergeant Major, who is eight months into a year-long half marathon walking challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK, is backing the charity’s latest campaign to help save more lives, as the charity fights back from the impact of the pandemic.

Squadron Sergeant Major David Ansell, 46, set off on a walking challenge in October 2020 covering a half marathon every day for a year to raise money.

Now two thirds of the way in its not just the number of days left that is starting to drop David’s weight also continues to fall.

David is now 33 pounds (2.3 stone) lighter and visibly so after completing nearly 750 hours of exercise and burning more than 743,000 calories.

Squadron Sergeant Major David Ansell, who’s based at Fenham Barracks in Newcastle, said: “This was never a challenge about weightloss, but it has been an added benefit as a result of the exercise I’ve done each day. It just goes to show that you don’t need gym memberships or personal trainers to get fit. Simply taking yourself out on a walk can help improve your health and reduce your risk of getting cancer.”

David is walking in memory of his dad David, 70, who was in the Royal Artillery for 22 years and was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in March last year, and died just two weeks into the challenge.

With eight months gone David has completed his 250th walk and covered over 3279.2miles/5277.5km.

David has already passed his fundraising target of £5,000, and looks set to reach £10,000 for Cancer Research UK.

David, who lives in Sunderland, said: “As a result of the pandemic, cancer is as urgent an issue now as it’s ever been. With so many people affected, we’re all in this together, so every action – big or small – helps Cancer Research UK. I hope by seeing me take on this challenge people will think about how they can play their part to help more people survive.”

David is helping to highlight a powerful new short film from Cancer Research UK, which underlines how everyone has a part to play in the fight against the disease.

It features the rallying call to arms: “One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime*. All of us can support the research that will beat it.”

David added: “It’s a sobering statistic. It was devastating when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and to lose him so quickly was nothing we could prepare for. I also saw a work colleague and friend Lance Corporal Dean ‘Deano’ Ashworth lose his own battle with cancer. He was only 31. I am committed to doing my best to support Cancer Research UK and help other families. I hope I can inspire people to make a difference and become a part of the solution to this devastating disease.”

In the North East, around 16,700 people are diagnosed with cancer every year**.

Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK’s work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has been at the heart of the progress that has seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years.

Lisa Millett, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North East, said: “David continues on with his challenge and not only is he helping by raising money for Cancer Research UK, but every day he is out is his blue charity t-shirt helping raise awareness and spread the word about the vital work our researchers do. COVID-19 has hit us hard, but we are more focussed than ever on our ambition of seeing 3 in 4 people survive their cancer by 2034.

“This past year proves, more than any other, the value of research and what can be achieved together. Just like science is our route out of the pandemic, science is our route to beating cancer.

“That’s why we want to harness the ‘people power’ of our incredible supporters, because the progress we make relies on every hour of research, every pound donated and everyone who gets involved.

“So, whether they give £2 a month, sign up to Race for Life, volunteer at our shops or walk a half marathon every day for a year – with the help of people in Sunderland we believe that together we will beat cancer.”

Play a part in supporting life-saving research at cruk.org.