Back in June, I embarked on a challenge to raise money for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK. Obviously, Bobby was a World Cup-winning captain and a giant of the game until bowel cancer claimed him at the age of 51. My dad might not have been a World Cup-winning captain, indeed having seen him play on several occasions; it’s evident that he passed his footballing prowess (or lack of it) on to me. But he was a giant in my eyes – and sadly bowel cancer claimed him prematurely too.

At the beginning of 2012, I set myself a target to raise money for the Bobby Moore Fund. The motivation was my personal experience. I don’t want others to go through what my dad endured– and I don’t want other wives, sons and daughters to deal with the situation my family had to face during his battle against the disease and following his death. Due to my working commitments, my usual fundraising ventures which involve music were unrealistic. It would involve a challenge over a period of time…and so I set myself a goal of losing 34 lbs in 80 days.

I began emailing family and friends as well as using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to let them know of my crazy scheme. I was astonished by the response and saddened by the number who had suffered similar heartache as a result of cancer. £250 was my initial target, but sponsorship money kept coming in – and coming in. The wave of support I received was incredible. Friends were sending me texts to coincide with my alarm going off at 6.07am to help get me out of bed. I was astonished at how much motivation that gave me – and I didn’t want to let them down.

Initially, I spoke to Adam at Summit in Wrightington to see whether my target was attainable. The support I received from him couldn’t have been better. He gave me training, dietary and mental advice which served me so well, not just during the challenge, but beyond. When I suffered hamstring and calf strains following runs up Parbold Hill, I received the best possible treatment – as well as advice on how not to sustain the same injury again.

Even fellow Summit Physio staff and clients at Wrightington jumped on the bandwagon. Indeed, fellow early riser Dave Metcalf helped push the final total over £1250, £1000 more than my target. Dave, thank you so much for your donation. I was also the gym’s member of the month. After completing over 100 sessions there in that 80 day period, I was certainly one of their heaviest users!

After 80 days of exercise, on the day of my dad’s anniversary, I stood on the scales – and was frustratingly just three pounds short of my target. The scales read 169 lbs, which is 12 stone 1 or 77kg. At the start I’d been 200 lbs, which is 14 stone 4 or 90.5 kg. However, I’d lost 4 inches from my waist and was fitter and faster than I’d ever been. But the biggest winner was the Bobby Moore Fund – and I am sure they will use the money wisely.

I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family or Adam at Summit. Thank you. For any of you wavering on whether to kick-start again after the New Year, my advice would be go for it. It’s money well spent…

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