THE Bishop of Swindon, Lee Rayfield, has said his experience in fighting off cancer has been a ‘blessing’.
The Rt Rev Dr Rayfield is now in remission after being diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma last August, and is looking to get back on the road to complete a cycling fundraiser he postponed when the illness struck.
Dr Rayfield praised the medical support he received. He still needs to go to hospital every three months for check-ups but is excited for what the future holds.
Dr Rayfield said: “Nobody would want to be diagnosed with cancer but paradoxically I found it to be a time of physical growth and God has been speaking to me in ways that I would never have imagined.
“This experience has made me aware of my own mortality and has been a blessing rather than anything else.”
When he was diagnosed, he had been training for the bike ride from John O’Groat’s to Lands End, raising funds for leadership development in Uganda.
Instead, he had to undertake four months of chemotherapy treatment at Great Western Hospital, followed by radiotherapy at the Churchill Hospital, in Oxford, which resulted in Dr Rayfield being diagnosed as in remission in February.
He will be taking on the challenge between July 6 and 19 with an aim of raising £10,000. Dr Rayfield said: “It was something I was looking at doing last September but had to postpone so I’m looking forward to returning to it and raising as much as I can.”
During his treatment Dr Rayfield still managed to get out on his bike with Swindon Road Club, which raised £476 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research to support their friend.
Dr Rayfield, who has been a member of the club for five years, said: “I was surprised that I could still go but the doctors said that it was OK. The road club were brilliant and they knew to keep anyone with the slightest cough or sneeze away from me as it could have caused big problems for me.
“They are a great club, which I really enjoy being part of and for them to raise this money is a lovely gesture.”
Dr Rayfield, who is married to Liz and has three children Matt, Simon and Louise, worked from home while he was being treated.
“Once I was diagnosed as being in remission I was really excited to get back out and be able to go to meetings as I was getting a little stir crazy,” he said.
“Liz, my children and my daughter-in-law Jade have been absolutely wonderful to me through it all. I received a sackful of cards and emails while people told me they prayed for me daily – which was very humbling.”
Anyone who’d like to join Swindon Road Club should visit www.swindon-rc.co.uk.