Jan 19, 2022

Great-grandfather walks for cancer charity days after leaving hospital

Great grandfather walking challenge

White, 75, was diagnosed in 2012 with stromal sarcoma of the prostate. Six weeks of intensive radiotherapy followed and subsequently, surgery and a urostomy. 

In 2020, another tumour was located in his bowel and additional surgeries were ordered. White spent Christmas in hospital and underwent a colostomy. 

Tenacious as ever, 10 days after being discharged from Christie Hospital in Manchester where he had been treated, Mr White decided to commence a challenge to help a local children’s hospice by raising some money. 

Near his home in Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness, White has committed to walking two miles (3.2km) every day for 10 consecutive days, only a couple of weeks after his major surgery. 

Speaking to The Evening Standard, White humorously remembers, “Originally I did say to my wife, because it’s 10 years with cancer and all the tens, should I try and walk 10 miles?”

“So we started off trying to come up with a figure that was sensible, but that would make people think, ‘Blimey, I don’t walk two miles a day.’”

Ralph White was inspired to undertake this challenge to help out and raise money for all the children at Derian House, a children’s hospice that seeks to support and aid end-of-life care to around 400 young people, including their families, in the Lancashire, south Cumbria and Greater Manchester areas of the UK.  

White and his wife speak fondly of supporting the charity for close to 10 years, recalling how it gave the much needed support to the grandson of a family friend. 

Mr White conveyed how he was itching to do something to assist the charity, as quickly as he could, after being discharged from hospital. 

“And you just say, ‘Blimey, let’s try and do something.’”

Mr White happily tells of his extended family, and with three children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild, he is grateful to be positive about his own outlook after all the medical care.

Christie’s hospital will keep watch over and continue the care for his health, drawing significant gratitude from Mr White.

Mr White comically conveys, “I feel very lucky that I can still carry on with a fairly normal life and I haven’t got to worry about looking for a toilet.

“You feel so lucky to be alive, basically,” he adds. 

“If I can live another 10 years that means I’ll see a lot more of the kids, the great grandkids – and this [walking challenge] kind of means that I’m determined to do that.”

Ralph White had hoped to raise at least £1,000 (AU$1892) for Derian House. Now having far exceeded that number, he is excited to see how much the final total will be for the kids that need it most. 

Anyone wishing to contribute can visit Mr White’s donation page here.

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