Hastings crews’ 100-mile trek for Bexhill firefighter battling cancer

Chris with his family SUS-190820-100348001
Chris with his family SUS-190820-100348001

Hastings firefighters are embarking on a 100-mile walk across the South Downs Way to raise funds for a fellow firefighter battling cancer.

Crews from Bohemia Road and The Ridge are holding the fundraiser next month to help pay towards essential treatments for Chris ‘Casper’ Mepham, a 38-year-old father-of-two.

Chris, from Bexhill, was 36 when he was diagnosed with two primary cancers more than two years ago - stage 4 bowel cancer in his sigmoid colon, together with stage 2 testicular cancer.

The bowel cancer turned out to be a particularly aggressive strain called Signet Ring Cell which is extremely rare, affecting just 0.5 to one per cent of patients with colon cancers.

He has been told by the NHS it has exhausted all its treatment options available, advising him instead to look to private treatment options, which he will have to pay for.

The drug recommended to Chris, called cetuximab, will cost at least £12,500 per treatment to buy privately.

The cancer also returned at the end of last year, obstructing his bowel, and he had to have a nine-hour operation.

Chris has been on chemotherapy since February.

Last month his friends Terry and Mandy Skelton, and Heidi and John Waterhouse organised a 24-hour run at Hastings Athletics Track in Parkstone Road raising vital funds.

A JustGiving page has also been set up by friend Sara Conway, with the aim is to raise £50,000.

The South Downs Way is a 100-mile route that starts at Winchester in Hampshire.

It stretches across West Sussex and ends in Eastbourne in East Sussex. Some of the highest points in the south of the country are covered along the route reaching up to 889ft.

The team will start their journey at Butser Hill on Thursday, October 3 and finish at Bohemia Road Fire Station, Hastings on Sunday, October 6.

The trek will be carried out over four days and at the end of each day, the crews are set to bunk down in fire stations to rest and recuperate before setting off on another 25-mile trek for the day.

The JustGiving page can be found at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sara-conway-1.

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