Grieving Stevenage man’s 2,000km challenge in memory of mum

Thom Sutcliffe is taking on a 2000km challenge in memory of his mum, who died from pancreatic cancer

Thom Sutcliffe is taking on a 2000km challenge in memory of his mum, who died from pancreatic cancer. Picture: Pancreatic Cancer Action. - Credit: Archant

A grieving man is taking on the challenge of running 2,000km this year - roughly one marathon a week - in memory of his mum, who died weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Thom Sutcliffe, from Stevenage, is still reeling from the death of his mum, Ruth, who was only diagnosed with cancer in December, but he is determined to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Action - a charity which funds research into early diagnosis.

Ruth had a persistent stitch-like pain for a few weeks in August and an ultrasound ordered by her GP showed liver abnormalities, so a CT scan and more specific blood tests were arranged.

By December, Ruth’s abdominal pain was much worse and she was taken to hospital for an emergency CT scan, which showed a tumour on her pancreas and a secondary tumour on her liver.

Thom, 26, said: “In December, my mum was living a perfectly normal life - she was working a full-time job, playing with her grandchildren at weekends and helping my sister to move house. Then, out of the blue, she was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer and passed away just seven weeks later.”

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He continued: “After my initial shock and grief reaction, I wanted to do something to help. My mum always taught me and my siblings to try to find a way to make something good come of any situation, no matter how dire, and to try to help others in everything we do.

“I want to do something, anything, to try and stop even one person from having to go through the same experience.

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“The speed of this cancer really struck me. It is almost never diagnosed early enough for any real treatment and, once symptoms appear, it is very aggressive.

“I decided to fundraise for Pancreatic Cancer Action because of the focus on early diagnosis. The only way people will really stand a chance of surviving pancreatic cancer is if it is diagnosed quickly.”

Pancreatic cancer is the UK’s fifth biggest cancer killer. The survival rate is just five per cent - the lowest of any cancer.

Thom will be running two megameters - 2,000km - over the course of 2018. To show your support and sponsor him, visit

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