Novice swimmers from Stevenage inspired by loved ones’ battles with cancer are ready to take on Macmillan’s All Out Swim in Letchworth

Steve Lee from Stevenage signed up for the Macmillan All Out Swim in Letchworth after his wife Lesle

Steve Lee from Stevenage signed up for the Macmillan All Out Swim in Letchworth after his wife Lesley was diagnosed with a blood cancer. - Credit: Archant

Loved ones will be providing the inspiration for two novice swimmers from Stevenage when they take to the water in Letchworth next month.

Sarah Walton from Stevenage will be taking on the Macmillan All Out Swim in Letchworth in memory of

Sarah Walton from Stevenage will be taking on the Macmillan All Out Swim in Letchworth in memory of her dad, with the fundraiser falling on the date of what would have been her parents' 50th wedding anniversary. - Credit: Archant

Steve Lee and Sarah Walton will both be completing laps of Letchworth Outdoor Pool for Macmillan’s All Out Swim challenge, having seen first hand the devastating impact cancer can have on their families’ lives.

Steve’s wife Lesley was diagnosed with MDS – a type of blood cancer – in June, having fought and beat breast cancer in 2010.

Lesley, 52, is currently receiving chemotherapy after being admitted to the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre in Euston, and Steve is keen to his bit for the charity.

“It was a big shock because we’d been through this once already and now we’ve got to go through it again,” said the 55-year-old father of four.


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“What Macmillan offer makes a difference to a lot of people and as Leslie and one of my daughters do a Race for Life event every year I wanted to contribute something.

“Macmillan carries out a tremendous amount of work to help those families affected by cancer. Please donate to this wonderful charity, which has been supporting us and countless others.”

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Steve is also keen to highlight the importance of signing up to the donor register as after Lesley has received two cycles of chemotherapy she will need to have a stem cell replacement from a donor.

He said: “Please sign up at dkms.org.uk to go into this registry of donors – it only involves sending off a swab from the inside of your mouth. If you are called upon to give a donation it is taken from your blood, in exactly the same way as if you were a blood donor. There is an especial need for ethnic minorities or mixed race donations. By becoming a donor you have the potential to save somebody’s life. It could be a member of your family that needs a donation one day.”

With the September 10 event now less than a month away, Steve, who had signed up for the 2km distance shortly before Leslie’s latest diagnosis, admits he is quite the novice when it comes to swimming.

“I don’t think I’ve been swimming pretty much since school, but I have a dodgy knee so thought it would be better than running!”

Also taking the plunge will be fellow Stevenage resident Sarah, who is taking part in the 5km distance – equating to around 100 lengths of an Olympic size swimming pool.

The date of the swim – September 10 – is particularly poignant for the 48-year-old as it would have been her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

Her dad Colin died from asbestosis cancer in 1993 when Sarah was aged 25 so she will be doing it in his memory while her mum Sheila – travelling down from County Durham – cheers her on poolside.

“This event is great, it is a real challenge,” said Sarah.

“I am not a trained swimmer but have been putting in many hours in the pool to prepare for this. My son Martyn is an elite swimmer so I have been getting lots of top tips from him!

“I am very grateful to everyone who has donated so far as I have already exceeded my target but would like to raise as much as I can. Macmillan nurses are a fantastic support to many people suffering from cancer and it feels great to be doing this swim to raise money to enable them to support even more people.”

To support Steve visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Steve-Lee13 and you can back Sarah at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Sarah-Walton10.

There is still time to sign up for the swim, which is being held for the second time with extra distances now on offer.

To register visit macmillan.org.uk/alloutswimletchworth.

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