A SWANAGE family that has been through years of trauma after numerous cancer diagnoses is putting their experiences to good use in a bid to help others.
In the UK, someone is diagnosed with cancer every 90 seconds on average, and for the Woolston family, this statistic is all too real.
56-year-old Mark Woolston works full time as a factory manager and lives with his wife and two young sons.
In April 2022, he lost his mum to cancer and just two months later, while still grieving, was himself diagnosed with throat cancer.
Mark underwent treatment before having an operation in August last year.
Thankfully, he has recovered well and has been working on getting back to full health ever since.
He’s taken up walking and feels better than he has in a very long time.
However, when Mark was having his surgery, his mother-in-law was living with terminal pancreatic cancer, and sadly died in April – exactly one year on from his own mum’s passing.
And while Mark was having his chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, his brother-in-law also started receiving treatment for lung cancer.
The family has been through a lot – but they remain positive – and are determined to give something back.
“I feel stronger by the day. My mind remains positive and I know I am luckier than my relatives,” said Mark.
To repay some of support the family received from the Cancer Care Unit at Poole Hospital, Mark’s 15-year-old son walked from Swanage to Bournemouth Pier last year – raising £1,280 for the cause.
This year though, Mark is feeling well enough to take on his own walking challenge and, in true competitive family spirit, is aiming to walk further and raise even more.
He will be joined by his friends and family to walk 22 miles from Swanage to Poole Hospital – and back – on Saturday (September 23).
So far, Mark has raised more than £2,600 and the fundraising won’t stop until he makes it back home to put his feet up this Saturday.
“I want to give back to the Cancer Care Team at Poole Hospital because they are simply fantastic,” he went on.
“My consultant, Emma King, is a remarkable lady. She really helped me through this most unsettling time. She knew I didn’t need trials and that the combination of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery were my best way forward.
“I felt so reassured by the team every step of the way. Their positivity made me believe I would be ok and now it’s my turn to do what I can to help the on the ward.”