Father who battled cancer to walk length of Thames

Father who battled cancer to walk length of Thames

Amanda Hall

Father who battled cancer to walk length of Thames

A dad-of-two who battled a rare form of cancer will be walking the entire length of the Thames to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Former Desborough School pupil Stuart Gray is due to start the 200-mile hike from the source of the river in Gloucestershire to the Thames Estuary at Crayford Ness in Kent on Saturday.

The 42-year-old, who lived in Maidenhead for 30 years, aims to complete the walk in 10 days and will be passing through Boulters Lock on Friday, April 20.

The former tree surgeon, who battled with a rare type of head cancer affecting his sinus, said he is hoping to raise £20,000 for charity Heads Up.

"My motivation for doing the walk is obvious, yet there are many cancer charities I could have raised money for," he said.

"However, few invest heavily in research in head and neck cancers and much research still needs to be done in this area."

Stuart said his 'world fell apart' when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2005. He underwent surgery to remove an adenoid cystic carcinoma from his left sinus before being given the all clear in January 2006.

But five years later the cancer returned. He underwent another bout of major surgery in December 2010 to remove his left check bone, the left half of his palate and left eye.

Plastic surgeons worked to replace the area with tissue from his thigh.

He added: "My main objective after surgery was to make a fast recovery in order to keep my promise to the children that I would be home for Christmas.

"Happily I kept my promise."

Stuart is now making a healthy recovery and living with his wife of 16 years Kim, and two children in Woodley.

Visit www.justgiving.com/stuart-gray4 to donate.

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