Telford father’s long walk to raise £5,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of sons
A father from Telford who lost two sons to cancer is raising money for the organisation that cared for them in their final moments.
Mal Chadwick is looking to walk just over 400km across the country in an effort to raise money and give back to Macmillan after being inspired by the "wonderful care" it gave to his sons during their illnesses.
Matthew, Mr Chadwick's eldest son, first had a seizure in 1995 and was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Although it was declared inoperable at the time of the diagnosis, Matthew underwent surgery at UHT Birmingham in 2000 and survived until 2013.
Mr Chadwick's youngest son, James, had a melanoma removed in 2006 and appeared to be clear.
But sadly, in 2017 his stomach started swelling and it was discovered that it was caused by an aggressive metastasised melanoma in his stomach lining. It was classed inoperable and he died in 2018.
Both Matthew and James died at the age of 42 and not a day goes by when they are not in the thoughts of Mal, his wife Jenni and their other son, Luke.
Mr Chadwick said Matthew, who was a teacher, and James, who was a salesman for a computer company, both enjoyed the simple things in life whether it was eating out as a family or with friends as well as the occasional party.
Matthew also enjoyed travelling, and both sons had a strong interest in politics.
Speaking about the impact of the loss of both Matthew and James, Mr Chadwick said: "It was pretty devastating, my wife is still suffering from their loss. Even day to day when I see pictures of Matthew and James I am in tears. It is quite emotional to be honest."
Mr Chadwick, 75, from Horsehay, is now attempting to raise £5,000 for the charity to show his gratitude as well as ensuring it can continue its work with those needing it now.
He has already walked 250km while taking the Cross Britain Way route across the country.
This route was created by Tim Brunton when he was raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The walk aims to include less well known English and Welsh countryside.
It starts in Boston, Lincolnshire, and ends in Barmouth, Gwynedd.
So far, Mr Chadwick has walked across English counties such as Staffordshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire as well as entering Wales. His last stretch of 32km across three days from January 3 to January 5 started in Dolanog and finished in Bala, Snowdonia.
He is doing the walk in stages and started the fundraiser last year.
Mr Chadwick, who is doing different stages of the walk with friends and family including his wife, Jenni, said he is enjoying the experience and is hopeful that he can reach his target of £5,000.
He said: "The walks have been great for me in terms of seeing some wonderful new parts of the UK and walking with friends. However, now the end is nearing I am aware that we are some way short of our target for Macmillan who gave such comfort to two of our sons.
"Both sons spent their last few weeks in a downstairs bed and were given wonderful palliative care by Macmillan nurses."
He is going to continue his journey at the start of February by walking 35km in the Leicestershire Wolds and is scheduled to complete the total by the middle of April.
He has struggled with blocked footpaths, routes taken in error and typical British weather but is determined to raise the money for a charity close to him and Jenni.
So far, Mr Chadwick has raised more than £1,560 and wants to reach his target of £5,000 by the time he finishes his walk.
To support him, gofundme.com/f/mal039s-campaign-for-macmillan-cancer-support
Report by Stephen Bramhill