With his first step across the start line at Burnley on Day 11 of his March for Men, Jeff surpassed the 262-mile distance he walked last year – and it's starting to really hurt. We hear from the people who are walking with Jeff and driving him on to the finish line, five days away in Newcastle.
By day 11 last year, Jeff Stelling would have been slowly recovering at home from the longest walk of his life. But at the same point in this year’s March for Men, Jeff was in Burnley and only two-thirds of the way through his 400-mile odyssey. Every step now is a journey into the unknown for him, both mentally and physically.
"I try really hard not to think of the next day," said Jeff. "The first 12 to 14 miles are a nice stroll. But after that, I don't care who you are, it's hard work!"
While there’s no denying the extraordinary feat Jeff is undertaking, it’s perhaps the men with prostate cancer walking alongside him who are truly stepping into the unknown. Every day, they face the physical and mental side effects of their treatment while living with the uncertainty of their cancer spreading.
One incredible example is Kevin Webber, who is doing all 15 days of the March with Jeff. He passed his two-year minimum prognosis for advanced prostate cancer six months ago and says he’s delighted just to still be here to take part.
“When you get diagnosed initially, your world implodes – and that's when you need good support around you,” Kevin says in his recent blog for us. “I was lucky insofar as I found Prostate Cancer UK’s online community forum straightaway, which has been amazing in helping me. I like to think I help others on occasions now there, too, with my experiences.”
But it’s not just mutual support that Prostate Cancer UK offers to men like Kevin, hundreds of whom also contact our dedicated Specialist Nurses each week. It’s also our cutting-edge research projects that give all of us hope that one day we’ll be able to stop prostate cancer being a killer.
We’re now two years into our 10-year strategy to tame the disease. And every step taken by those on the March for Men, and the vital money they raise, brings us closer to our goal of finding better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent the most common cancer in men.
Throughout the last 10 days, we've heard from other supporters walking with Jeff who shared their reasons for joining the March.
“I want to thank the marchers,” Kevin says. “The funds they raise will hopefully find that elusive cure before my kids have to worry about it.”
That’s the kind of motivation that Jeff will need to spur him on for the next five days, as he looks to hit 400 miles on his way to Newcastle.