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Cancer patient takes on ‘Britain’s hardest walk’ after weeks on life support

Martyn Wells was diagnosed with melanoma in March 2017.

Martyn Wells is taking on the Cape Wrath Trail (James Greenoff/PA)
Martyn Wells is taking on the Cape Wrath Trail (James Greenoff/PA)

By Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland

A cancer patient who was on life support earlier this year is set to take on a 245-mile trek known as Britain’s hardest walk.

Martyn Wells, 50, who has stage four cancer, aims to complete the Cape Wrath Trail in a record time of less than 10 days to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

He sets out on Saturday and will hike 10-14 hours a day through the Scottish wilderness with his two walking companions.

The trek comes just months after he spent 16 days on life support and two weeks on oxygen in March when he had an adverse reaction to immunotherapy and developed severe pneumonia that developed into sepsis.

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Martyn Wells with his wife Hazel (James Greenoff/PA)

The father-of-two from Worcester said: “I have to pinch myself sometimes to remind myself how lucky I am to even be here, let alone take on something as crazy as the Cape Wrath Trail.

“I am blessed to have a great team supporting me and we’ve trained hard and done all the right preparations to complete this expedition.

“All we need now is for some good luck with the weather and for our bodies to hold out to successfully complete this and raise more awareness about the dangers of melanoma, as well as much needed funding for Macmillan Cancer Support.”

Mr Wells was diagnosed with melanoma in March 2017 after he noticed a mole had started bleeding.

He went on to have six operations as the cancer spread around his body, including having his stomach removed in March 2018 after doctors found a cricket ball-sized tumour.

He has worked hard on his fitness following the set-back in March, and said he was determined to take on the challenge.

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Martyn Wells begins his trek on Saturday (James Greenoff/PA)

The trail starts in Fort William and is an unmarked route through some of the country’s wildest and most remote countryside to Cape Wrath, the most north-westerly point of the UK mainland.

Mr Wells said: “Being in bed in hospital that long, it atrophies your muscles and you have lots of muscle wastage.

“When I first got out of bed I took 10 steps and had to get back on the oxygen.

“But I still wanted to continue and do the Cape Wrath Trail.

“I had corporate sponsors, I had promised Macmillan and didn’t want to let them down, so I dedicated myself to training and getting myself fit enough for the challenge.”

Last year, Mr Wells raised £46,000 for Macmillan by completing the Severn Way, a 211-mile route following the River Severn from its source in Plynlimon in Powys to Bristol.

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Mr Wells is raising money for Macmillan (James Greenoff/PA)

Sarah Diston, regional fundraising manager for Macmillan in Worcestershire, said: “I don’t think I’ve met anyone as determined as Martyn. He has and continues to do so much to ensure others living with cancer get the same care and support that he has received from Macmillan.

“He’s been on such a journey with his diagnosis and has also had to work incredibly hard to get fit.

“I keep saying this but he’s such an inspiration and I’ve absolutely no doubt he’ll complete what is going to be a gruelling 245-mile trek.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/capewrathtrail2019, and find out more about the trek at www.capewrathtrail2019.com

PA

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