Mark saddling up for a gruelling challenge

Mark Ward ahead of his Coast 2 Coast challenge.
Mark Ward ahead of his Coast 2 Coast challenge.

A Whitley Bay man has begun an epic challenge after taking inspiration from his sister who beat a rare form of lung cancer.

Mark Ward set off yesterday (Wednesday) on an 86-mile walk along Hadrian’s Wall from Wallsend to Bowness.

And once he arrives in Cumbria, the 42-year-old will jump on his bike for a 136-mile cycle from Whitehaven to Tynemouth, aiming to complete it by Friday afternoon.

He is taking part in the 222-mile endurance test to raise money for children’s charity Candlelighters, who supported his sister in her cancer battle.

Mark said: “I’ve been looking to find the right challenge to raise money for Candlelighters for a long time and I’m really looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity to say thank you. It is an amazing charity that offers invaluable support to those affected by cancer in children.

“When my sister, Stephanie Jessup, was first diagnosed with pleuropulmonary blastomer she was only four-years-old and I was 17.

“She’d had a persistent chesty cough and had been taken to the hospital with suspected fluid on the lung but instead the x-ray revealed a growth there.

“It was a hammer blow to the family. Stephanie was incredibly brave and approached the condition and its treatment with resilience and humour and our mother was a tower of strength.

“Finally at the age of 21 Stephanie got the all clear, and has gone on in the four years since to become a chef and I’m so proud of her.”

He added: “I’ve raised £500 in donations so far but would love to reach £1,000.”

To sponsor Mark visit http://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/see2seas