The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund

Tackling Rising Rates of Melanoma

Actively Fighting Melanoma

By Ashley Charlwood

Ashley Charlwood running

Being moved by an event can have a positive or negative impact on what you do next. It’s your choice. It’s important for you to do something though.

Personally, I’ve been affected by cancer too much. I have watched people I love and respect fighting a disease that just doesn’t give up. I have strong memories that haunt me from the illness, usually take second place to really fantastic memories. Sadly the positive things I can’t show my children and others and that’s painful.

Actions speak louder than words and right now my actions are getting darker and harder as I train early in the morning towards the start line of Marathon des Sables in April 2014. I have aches and pains, I doubt and worry.

I put it into perspective perhaps in a simplistic way; whatever I am going through isn’t even close to the experience of someone with cancer. So when I wake up at 5 am hearing the rain, and knowing the next hour and half is going to be cold, wet and tiring, I think of the suffering that my family and friends have been through at the hands of the “black dog”-I haven’t missed a session yet!

The act of training for 6 days running 250km self supported across the Sahara is very good for my soul. I’m training for their memory, that thing that I can’t show to someone else, I can demonstrate how important those people are. It shows that there is something we can all do to prevent this cycle in the future. There is hope, and we can all contribute to making that hope reality.

Melanoma could be avoided in many cases, through simple lifestyle changes and pointing this out is ‘education’ that could change future generations. Creating a cure is something we can do now, with money. I was sunburned as a child; I could be playing roulette with melanoma for another 20 years, so perhaps I might benefit from a cure-who knows; do you?

All the choices we have in our life drift by unless we grab them. We can spend an hour reading on the internet, or we can choose to set a goal, go out and chase that goal, tell a story to others and feel fulfilled in doing it. Running will be a “rocking chair moment” for me, something I can explain to my grandchildren.

Someone who sponsored me said “I’m glad you’re doing this so I don’t have to”. That strangely felt good, knowing that what I’m doing is appreciated. I’ve got a long way to go to raise my target of £10,000, the support I’m getting from Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Fund is outstanding. I feel like I’m working as part of a team. A team who desperately want to educate and find a cure for a disease that has shattering consequences.

Everybody has a challenge in them, it doesn’t have to be spectacular, but it has to be meaningful to you. I’d urge everyone to try it once. If you can’t be bothered, or can’t afford to sponsor me or someone else raise £100 yourself. See how you feel. Watch how it makes others feel. I guarantee you will meet people you wouldn’t otherwise, and those people can be amazingly special. It might even change your life!

I hope if you try it, a bit like breaking a mobile phone, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it!

Support Ashley here… Just Giving

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