Stage Four cancer patient completes 100k Steps Challenge to raise almost £3,000 for Maggie’s – and vows to raise thousands more this year
3 weeks ago
In August 2021 Jason Woods was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, and just three months later given the devastating news that it had spread … and he had between 12 months and two years to live.
While that means that much of his time now is spent having chemo sessions to treat the disease, as much – if not more – is spent enjoying his life to the full and raising money for a charity that has supported him along every step so far, Maggie’s.
Jason, 52, from Pensby, spent every day in December, walking around West Kirby Marine Lake to complete the 100K Steps for Maggie’s Challenge, collecting almost £3,000 for the Clatterbridge Road cancer centre.
And as he begins a new year, the property developer and business owner plans to raise even more as he battles the illness: “After being diagnosed I started treatments and responded well and, along the way, I stumbled across Maggie’s,” he says.
“The team there have given me so much help and guidance, practically and emotionally. It’s an amazing support centre that’s so welcoming and comfortable – every time I go to Maggie’s, I leave with the biggest smile on my face.
“I’m determined to carry on with my life and enjoy it, regardless of how tired I feel.
“And I want to raise more money for Maggie’s, so they can help and support more people like me.”
Father-of-two Jason – he has two boys, Jay, 21, and Joseph, 19 – felt well and fit until early summer the year before last, when he began to feel stomach pains and had trouble going to the loo. He dismissed it as troublesome and had colonic irrigation in a bid to cleanse his system and hopefully resolve any discomfort.
But it soon became clear it was something more serious.
“You don’t run to the doctor for every little thing,” he says, “so I went for colonic irrigation and that seemed to sort it out for a while, but I was at a music festival shortly after and talking to a lad who’s a doctor when my stomach started moving and he said it was definitely something I needed to get looked at.”
Jason went to see his GP who referred him for tests and in August he was diagnosed with colon cancer. In October he was told it had spread to his liver, kidney and lymph nodes, and that was when he was told he had only a short time to live.
“I had an operation to remove my colon and was fitted with a stoma,” says Jason, whose company Gas Membrane Validation Services checks gas membranes in residential and commercial properties across the UK.
“And I have six-and-a-half-hour chemotherapy sessions every two weeks. The NHS has been absolutely brilliant, Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge Hospitals – the staff are angels, they are so good! – and, of course, Maggie’s.”
There are many who might think Jason should focus on his treatments, but helped by partner Tracey, he is determined to squeeze the most out of every moment – and to beat the cancer he has been told is killing him.
“The way I look at it there’s a load of people worse off than me. I feel like I’m in a cyclone looking up, and everyone is in that cyclone and I’m in the middle where it’s calm. It affects everyone around you more than it affects you and it’s awful to watch your family and friends suffer.
“I’m positive about this and I’ve still got a feeling I’m going to beat it. It is possible, it can be done, and I’m going to do it.”
He adds: “Cancer makes you take stock; it gives you the biggest kick up the backside to do all the things you want to do. You smell the flowers better, you see the sunrise better… I went on a cruise along the Norwegian Fjords and I’m going to have another break in Dubai and get a bit of sun.
“And I want to raise money for Maggie’s. I don’t need a shoulder to cry on – although it’s good to know they’re there if I need them – but they helped me get through the maze of benefits and sort all the practical things out.
“That’s why I did the 100K Challenge for them – and that was a killer, walking around West Kirby Marine Lake in the snow at 4am in the morning, especially after I’d had chemo which does knock you for six. But Maggie’s was worth it.”
Jason has set himself one goal to raise thousands more for Maggie’s and he has three others which he is determined to achieve in 2023.
“My goals are to beat cancer, ring the bell, and spend New Year’s Eve celebrating on Sydney Harbour Bridge.”