Steph Cade
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Overton woman completes first of two charity challenges in support of husband with blood cancer

Steph Cade
Posted by
14 Apr 2016

Overton resident Alexis Walmsley has accomplished the first of her two running challenges for Bloodwise, raising £840 in support of her husband who is undergoing treatment for two types of blood cancer.

Despite poor weather conditions, 59-year-old Alexis completed the Windsor 5K Colour Vibe race on Easter Day alongside friends, and is now preparing for her second challenge – the Overton Recreation Centre Fun Run – on 21 May.

The events were chosen by Alexis as part of national fundraising campaign “My Peak Challenge”, which encourages individuals to choose their own challenge and ‘reach their peak’ whilst raising money for Bloodwise. The initiative is the idea of Hollywood actor and star of hit TV series Outlander, Sam Heughan who has been a supporter of the charity for a number of years. Since its inception in 2015, My Peak Challenge has raised almost £200,000 for research into blood cancers, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

For Alexis, My Peak Challenge presented the perfect opportunity to improve her fitness and raise money to improve the lives of patients like her husband.

John Walmsley was diagnosed with myeloma in 2007, a week after his sixtieth birthday. Having had a heart attack and bypass a few years previously, John underwent his routine cholesterol and bloods tests, the latter of which revealed he was anaemic.

Alexis says: “Aside from experiencing slight breathlessness he had generally been feeling fit and well, so when he was referred to the haematology department and we were surrounded by cancer posters we became very concerned. After his bone marrow biopsy it was confirmed that he had myeloma. We were told he had five to seven years to live.”

John underwent chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, but then in 2010 he was diagnosed with another blood cancer – myelodysplasia (MDS) – and required multiple blood transfusions.

“Being diagnosed with two incurable, though treatable, blood cancers seems a tad unfair but, even after contracting an infection in his muscle and ending up in isolation in hospital John has been so resilient.

“Taking part in My Peak Challenge and supporting Bloodwise is my way of playing a part in speeding up blood cancer research even more so we can help improve the outcomes for all blood cancer patients in the years to come. Before the Windsor 5K run I’d never done anything like it before but I had a lot of fun and felt very pleased that I’d got through it. Now I’m one challenge down, I’m looking forward to the next!” she adds.

Dannii Perrin, Regional Fundraising Coordinator at Bloodwise, says: “It’s thanks to people like Alexis that we can continue our research into blood cancer and also provide support to all those affected by the disease. We’re delighted she enjoyed the first run and wish her all the best with the next – it sounds like she’s caught the running bug!”

To support Alexis please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Alexis-Walmsley

For more information on My Peak Challenge and how to get involved please visit www.mypeakchallenge.co.uk