Cancer survivor and charity fundraiser Mark Mercala takes on sponsored 120 mile bike ride for Hope Against Cancer
Mark Mercala from Loughborough, Leicestershire is embarking on a challenging 120 mile sponsored bike ride to raise funds for Leicestershire cancer research charity, Hope Against Cancer. The charity provides funding for cancer research projects and supports clinical trials in Leicestershire and Rutland.
In 2016, Mark was diagnosed with cancer of the tonsils, caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV causes cancers in many parts of the body. The diagnosis for Mark in this case was oropharyngeal cancer, which required surgery along with tests and procedures. Mark’s treatment involved surgery followed by intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy at Leicester Royal Infirmary he had six months off work and was given the ‘all clear’ in December 2016. Mark commented ‘life with and after cancer is not easy – hardships persist for years and being diagnosed at 49 years of age affected me and those who I love. Despite all of the challenges which arise, it is important for those who have been diagnosed with cancer to know that the community cares and will not give up on us. I have been training regularly for the bike ride in May and hope to raise lots of money for Hope Against Cancer’.
The sponsored bike ride will be carried out by Mark and a friend, who has committed to do a lengthy 120 miles from Loughborough to Uxbridge in just one day. All proceeds are to go to Hope Against Cancer, as the treatment Mark received was considered ‘second to none’ and therefore he wanted to give something back to the charity. He understands the many challenges cancer patients and cancer survivors face, however sees light in such difficulties, and encourages the community to help improve cancer patient’s lives by focusing and contributing on any upcoming fundraising activities.
Mark and his wife, Lesley, held a charity event in December 2017, hosting a mini Christmas Fayre at their house for the local community which help raised £2,600 for Hope against Cancer. Mark continues to leave a footprint by influencing others to tap into their philanthropic side and raise awareness of thousands of people being affected by cancer in our very own community, let alone globally. In fact, he thoroughly supports the current campaigns for teenage boys to be routinely immunised against HPV, as girls of the same age are at the moment.
Nigel Rose, Hope Against Cancer Chief Executive, said ‘thousands of people in our community have been and are being affected by cancer, and we must acknowledge that even though our charity tries to raise as much money as it can through our own events, we do also rely on our community to help us raise these funds. Mark is an inspiration to us all in so many ways, and we are all rooting for him on his bike ride in May’.
The bike ride will take place on Saturday 26th May, and Mark is currently in search of supporters to help with his fundraise. You can sponsor Mark via www.justgiving.com/markmercala or simply text UXBR51 and your chosen donation amount in GBP to 70070. Any contributions would be gratefully received for this amazing cause.