Stevenage man struck by triple cancer tragedy calls for people to enter Race for Life

PUBLISHED: 08:30 12 June 2019

Joe Capon and his brother Luke took on a 700-mile bike ride in memory of their brother Christian. Picture courtesy of Joe Capon.

Joe Capon and his brother Luke took on a 700-mile bike ride in memory of their brother Christian. Picture courtesy of Joe Capon.

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A man who tragically lost his brother, mother and grandad to cancer within three-and-a-half years is urging people to join him in next month's Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Joe Capon and his brother Luke rode from London to Geneva in Switzerland to help raise £15,500 for Cancer Research UK. Picture courtesy of Joe Capon.Joe Capon and his brother Luke rode from London to Geneva in Switzerland to help raise £15,500 for Cancer Research UK. Picture courtesy of Joe Capon.

Joe Capon, who lives in Stevenage, was trying to come to terms with the fact his grandad was receiving end-of-life care after battling with stomach cancer for seven years when his family received the shocking news that Joe's brother, Christian, had been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Christian sadly lost his cancer battle after two-and-a-half years, dying in July 2017 aged just 36.

He left behind his wife and three children, aged three, five and seven.

Joe said: "Seeing my brother deteriorate was just horrific. Someone who has always been, in my mind, so strong in character and stature, and an influential role model, worn down by cancer was the toughest thing I've ever had to go through.

"My brother and I both have young families, so it made it even more difficult because I could see so many similarities between us.

"His life was developing with a very young family and he had everything to look forward to. I had the same and for it to be taken away from him was so cruel.

"Now everyone has been deprived of his presence and that is the biggest heartache to deal with."

In January 2017, Joe's mum, Julie, was diagnosed with lung cancer and devastatingly lost her battle in November last year.

Joe said: "My whole life got turned upside down and the resilience you have to show to maintain good mental health is relentless.

"You can't help but think of the pain and torment your family that are living with cancer are going through - it's an absolute emotional rollercoaster for them.

"In amongst it all, I felt completely helpless and all I could try and do was focus on being there as a good grandson, son and brother whenever possible."

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After these three devastating tragedies, Joe and his younger brother Luke decided to start fundraising for Cancer Research UK in order to channel negative energy and gain a sense of purpose, trying to help others in a similar situation.

Joe explained: "I wanted a challenge to prove that this circumstance wasn't going to beat me and that I was in control of my mixed emotions and could channel them into something positive.

"My brother always loved cycling so we decided to ride 700 miles from London to Geneva in Switzerland.

"We also set up a variety of different events in our area to raise money, hosting a number of quiz nights and a golf day in Christian's memory."

Joe and Luke have so far raised £15,500 and intend to continue their fundraising efforts.

Joe, who is taking part in the Race for Life at Stevenage's Fairlands Valley Park on Sunday, July 7, is urging others to sign up for the Cancer Research UK event, which used to be open to women only but now includes men.

Joe said: "Race for Life is the single biggest opportunity for people affected by cancer to come together, and integrating men into the event means the whole family can get involved. It increases the potential of the occasion to raise more money and give people the ability to come together to remember their loved ones who they've lost, but also get fit whilst having fun."

Annie Ashwell, Cancer Research UK's Hertfordshire events manager, said: "We'd like to thank Joe for his remarkable efforts and commitment to his family's legacy and Cancer Research UK - his determination is outstanding."

She added: "By taking part in Race for Life and raising money, participants will play a crucial role in helping to turn discoveries made in the lab into new, better treatments for patients across Hertfordshire and throughout the UK. That's why every person and every penny raised counts."

According to Cancer Research UK, one in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but more people are surviving the disease now than ever before.

Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK's work has been instrumental in that progress.

You can opt to run, jog or walk 5k or 10k around the Fairlands Valley Park course. Both events start at 11am and are £14.99 for adults to enter, £10 for children and free for childen under six.

To enter, or for more information, visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.

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