Cancer fighter raises £61,000

A FATHER who was diagnosed with cancer at just 42 has spent 18 months of his life fighting the terrible illness - and amazingly raised £61,000 for charity at the same time.

A FATHER who was diagnosed with cancer at just 42 has spent 18 months of his life fighting the terrible illness - and amazingly raised £61,000 for charity at the same time.

While many people under the circumstances would seize on the chance to live out personal dreams - like travelling the world.

But father-of-two Graham Lockwood, from Mendlesham near Stowmarket, has set up a charity and with the help of his family, friends, former work colleagues and supporters - including former Ipswich Town midfielder Simon Milton.

And he has helped raise a staggering £61,000 for the fight against cancer.

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With the help of his supporters, he has raised £37,700 for Cancer Research, £18,500 for the Cancer Campaign in Suffolk, £6,000 for Macmillan Nurses and secured some donations for Ipswich Hospital.

Former Town star Milton, a friend of Mr Lockwood's, has been involved from day one, opening events and helping at auctions.

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Fundraising events held have included golf tournaments, a sponsored walk, coffee mornings, auctions, abseiling by his wife Angela down Ipswich Hospital and securing corporate sponsorship.

Mr Lockwood, a former sales director with transport company TNT at Mendlesham, said: "I had never been in to hospital, never been ill. At 42 years old I was told to stop working right now. I was a high flyer just stopped in my tracks.

"When I was first diagnosed I had a letter every day, from family and friends, people praying for me, the support was unbelievable. I have a strong wife and family.

"I accepted I got it, nothing could be done, and you have to get on with it however horrible. I love life and my family and I just kick every day to keep going.

"I am amazed at all the good people in East Anglia, the porters, doctors, voluntary workers at Ipswich Hospital and I felt had done nothing for 42 years to help others and this is my way of putting back and helping.

"It is such a horrible disease cancer, but I have been amazed at people's spirit, the smiles despite having horrible treatment, chemotherapy, radiotherapy. I had three fantastic doctors.

"I was told there was not a lot of hope, but I told the doctors if they give 100%, I will and I did not care what the odds were and that as far as I was concerned I would be seeing them year on year.''

Mr Lockwood, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer in July 2002 and had treatment at Ipswich Hospital, added: "While I have beaten the odds, I am on a time bomb and anything could happen any day. I could keel over, the doctors think it should have happened by now. I have had a lot of treatment, but I can't have anymore.''

His wife Angela, 45, is determined to help her husband through the illness and not dwell on the negative.

Mr Lockwood, who has two sons Matt, 20, and Craig, 18, came up with the idea for MAST Fundraisers, Mendlesham Active Support Team, and the fundraising has been done under its auspices.

Anyone who would like to donate money for the charity should make cheques payable to "MAST Fundraisers'' and send them to Robin Hall, Chapel Road, Mendlesham, Stowmarket, Suffolk. IP14 5SQ.

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