Paul Marland from Marlborough completed a gruelling task that most wouldn’t dare – in the hope of kinder, more effective cancer treatments.

They say that time with our parents is precious, and Paul Marland from Marlborough was cruelly reminded of that when his mum Marilyn was diagnosed with Leukaemia during the Covid pandemic.

77-year-old Marilyn started feeling fatigue and pains in her leg in 2021. Shortly after, she was told that she had acute myeloid leukaemia, a type of blood cancer.

Her son, Paul, was absolutely devastated.

“The country was in the midst of a Covid pandemic when she was admitted to The Royal Oldham Hospital in Lancashire for over six weeks, and no one was able to visit during this time,” he said.

“It was heartbreaking, and a particularly emotional and lonely time for my mum.”

Fortunately Marilyn made an incredible recovery but still relies on regular chemotherapy injections.

Watching her battle cancer and experience harsh gruelling treatments has inspired her son to take on his own gruelling task.

Now Paul, aged 52, has cycled 1013 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and raised over £1,000 for research into kinder treatments for people like his mum.

He averaged 72 miles each day with no rest days, for two weeks straight in August.

Swindon Advertiser: It was the hardest personal challenge I've ever done.It was the hardest personal challenge I've ever done. (Image: Leukaemia UK)

“There was a real low point for me, when 50mph wind and driving rain gave us a three-hour soaking and it was difficult to stay on the bike,” he said.

“It was the hardest personal challenge I’ve ever done but I never once regretted it.

“The feelings and memories I have after arriving at that famous signpost in John O’Groats will be with me forever. And yes, Mum is very proud.”

The cyclist has now smashed his £1000 fundraising target out of the park – currently at £1300 and counting.

Blood cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer and the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. Every day 27 people, of all ages across the UK, hear the news that they have leukaemia.  

“Survival rates are still nowhere near where they should be. At Leukaemia UK we know that research has the power to one day stop this disease devastating lives,” said Hanna Chorley, events manager at Leukaemia UK.

“We're so grateful to Paul for taking on this extraordinary challenge, and our thoughts are with his mum Marilyn for her continued recovery.”

You can continue to donate to Paul’s JustGiving page here.