INSPIRED by their father’s battle with terminal cancer, sisters Georgina and Alice Weston are to cycle the length of the country.
They will also swim across Lake Windermere in the Lake District to fund research into the disease that has devastated their family.
Georgina, 27 and Alice, 23, from Horton-cum-Studley near Oxford, launched a £30,000 fundraising plan after their father David Weston, 64, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer – cancer of the gullet – in January 2013.
In the past year, the sisters and their mother Sarah, 57, have seen Mr Weston undergo chemotherapy and surgery, only to be told he could have less than two years to live.
Georgina, a trainee solicitor, said: “Watching our father go through this has been terrible.”
She added: “Shortly after Christmas in 2012 we noticed he had hiccups at every meal and they didn’t go away for quite some time.
“He brushed it off as indigestion but it was the beginning of the hardest year of our lives.”
Mr Weston was sent for an endoscopy, where a camera is passed down the esophagus.
Miss Weston said: “The surgeon told us that he could see a large tumour, which he was 90 per cent sure was cancerous.”
On January 14, 2013 Mr Weston, a property investor, was told he had esophageal cancer, as well as cancer of the kidney.
Mr Weston has had chemotherapy, followed by an operation to remove his esophagus with the tumour and surrounding lymph nodes.
Miss Weston said: “A later scan showed that the cancer had returned in four places.
“We were told life expectancy is six months to two years. We were all devastated.”
Miss Weston said the family had hoped Mr Weston could get onto a new treatment trial of the new Anti-PD-1 antibody, which prevents cancer cells from blocking the body’s immune system, but the trial is not yet available in the UK for this type of cancer.
Miss Weston added: “We are hopeful that he can get access to the trial, but our father is now living on borrowed time.
The sisters aim to raise £30,000 for Cancer Research UK through BikeSplashBike, cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a maximum of 17 days in August and swimming the length – 10.5 miles – of Lake Windermere.
Miss Weston said: “The swim takes about 10 hours and we aim to cycle 100 miles per day.”
The sisters, who both work in London, have been cycling to work and training in Oxfordshire at weekends.
Miss Weston said: “We are already up to almost £2,000 in sponsorship.
“We now hope more people will sponsor us and would love to hear from a company who would lend us road bikes.”
Mr Weston said he was concerned about his daughters cycling such a long distance.
He added: “My wife and I have planned to meet up with them along the route, although my condition has worsened.
“I am very proud of them.”
- More details on the challenge and how to sponsor the sisters can be found at the website bikesplashbike.com and their virginmoneygiving page is virginmoneygiving.com/team/bikesplashbike