Hastings firefighters trek 100 miles to raise money for Bexhill colleague battling cancer

Firefighters by Hastings Pier at the end of their 100-mile trek. SUS-191110-161923001
Firefighters by Hastings Pier at the end of their 100-mile trek. SUS-191110-161923001

A group of firefighters completed a 100-mile trek in aid of their colleague battling cancer.

Dan Lamas, Colin Conway, Gary Henderson, Gary Bourne, Mark Simes, Josh Richard, Andy Coles and Ross Wilson undertook the South Downs Way, walking from Hampshire to Hastings from October 3 to 6.

Their nights were spent bedded down at fire stations along the route where they were able to rest and have their tired blistered feet attended to.

They completed the challenge to support their colleague Chris ‘Casper’ Mepham, from Bexhill, who has been fighting bowel cancer for the past couple of years. Chris underwent major surgery recently and is presently recovering at St Mary’s Hospital in London with his wife Sarah by his side.

Funds are being raised via a Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sara-conway-2 for future treatments that are no longer available to him in the NHS. The page was set up by close friend Sara Conway.

Chris 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.

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.

His friends are aiming to raise £50,000, with around £38,000 raised so far.

Sara, on the Just Giving page, said: “This has enabled Chris access to a drug they advised was a solid hope called cetuximab, which was only available privately to him at the cost of £12,500.

“Chris received the targeted therapy drug, alongside chemotherapy for a number of months and the team believe it may have held/slowed the disease for a period of time, but sadly now the cancer has become resistant to this combination, has grown and is now pressing and obstructing vital organs.

“His team have discussed all alternative options that Chris might be eligible for, however most of these are only accessible to private patients.

“Some of the drugs discussed have only just begun as drug trials, they can be extremely difficult to source and can cost in excess of £100,000, but these drugs have shown good response in clinical trials and drug studies so far.”

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