A grandfather who has survived three types of cancer is cycling from Twickenham to Tokyo to raise money for charity.
Sports-mad Patrick McIntosh will leave from Twickenham Stadium in early May and hopes to arrive in Tokyo on September 20 – just in time for the Rugby World Cup match between Russia and Japan.
The four-and-a-half-month journey will see the 62-year-old clock up 7,192 miles as he cycles across Europe and Russia.
It comes after Mr McIntosh, a chartered financial adviser from Smallfield in Surrey, underwent several rounds of treatment for bowel, prostate and skin cancer.
Mr McIntosh was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 after trying to give blood but realising his iron levels were too low.
Surgeons immediately operated and removed 17 inches of bowel, but Mr McIntosh then found out he had skin and prostate cancer – both of which also required surgery.
He said: “When it was discovered I had bowel cancer, the doctor told me that I shouldn’t even have been standing up – I’d been bleeding internally.
“Doctors operated almost immediately, removing parts of my large and small intestines, stomach muscles and five lymph nodes.
“I thought my journey with cancer was over and seven months later I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in three days.
“However, after a series of more tests in spring 2013, I was diagnosed with very progressive prostate cancer and underwent a seven-hour operation to remove my prostate, along with more ‘pipe work’, muscles and lymph nodes.
“I was later diagnosed with skin cancer, which I still have and is ongoing, but I get regular check-ups to keep it under control.”
At first, doctors thought the cancers were unconnected but Mr McIntosh has since been diagnosed with Lynch syndrome and Muir–Torre syndrome (a subset of Lynch syndrome), inherited disorders that increase the risk of some cancers.
Mr McIntosh said: “My brother also had Lynch syndrome and died of bowel cancer one-and-a-half years ago, but thankfully his children don’t have this genetic defect.
“My mother and grandfather also died of cancer and my sister has had the same cancers as me. She is still with us.”
Mr McIntosh, who has also sailed across the Atlantic and trekked to the South Pole, said he is ready for a new challenge and hopes to raise a lot of cash for the World Cancer Research Fund and St Catherine’s Hospice, which provides care for people in West Sussex and East Surrey.
He said: “I’m a huge rugby fan so I thought why not cycle to Japan in time for the Rugby World Cup?
“Thankfully, I have my friend Glenn who will be following me in our camper van, along with our Russian bodyguard who will hopefully protect us.
“More and more people are likely to live until they are 100, so I am trying to get the message out that we have a choice whether to remain fit and healthy into old age, or not look after ourselves and suffer later.”
Once he reaches Japan, Mr McIntosh plans to take a rest before continuing cycling in 2020 across North America and Iceland.
His journey across Russia will see him following the route of the original Trans-Siberian railway from St Petersburg to Vladivostok.
Mr McIntosh is married to wife Sue, 78. They have two grandchildren, Gemma, 27, and Jack, 22.
His fundraising page is https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PatrickMcIntoshLifeCycle.
Priyanka Kotecha, World Cancer Research Fund’s fundraising manager, said: “Patrick’s story has inspired all of us at WCRF.
“His passion to raise awareness of healthy choices and cancer checks will save many people’s lives.”