Let the Oncology Games begin!
2018 is the year of the first ever Oncology Games, a very special event for people who are battling cancer.
What makes it even more special is that the UK was represented by four patients who are treated at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
One of these people is Gary Hooker, who won two bronze medals at the event – congratulations Gary! He used the incredible opportunity to fundraise for Guy’s Cancer.
In January 2011, Gary was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer. Aged just 55, he was told his prognosis was about two years, depending on treatment.
Gary agreed to take part in a clinical trial for an American drug, which was arranged by staff at Guy’s Hospital. The trial has proved to be a huge success for him, as he is still enjoying life today.
‘The work of Guy’s Cancer has allowed me to spend more time than I thought possible with my wonderful family and two amazing grandsons,’ says Gary. ‘Without my family’s support and the fantastic treatment I have received from Guy’s Cancer and the drug company, I would not be here today.’
The big event
The Oncology Games took place in June 2018 in Rome, Italy, in the beautiful stadium of Stadio-della-Farnesina. The event’s ethos is about participating in friendly games and meeting new friends from five other European countries who have been through similar experiences, as well as having something positive to focus on.
Gary took part with three other patients from the hospital: 63-year-old John Travers, 48-year-old Sue Gyde and 68-year-old Ray Kibble. All four participants have a diagnosis of advanced cancer.
Our incredible UK athletes were trained by our cancer physiotherapy team – Isla Veal, Macmillan Oncology Physiotherapist, with the help of Ashleigh Chevannes and Joni Blackwood from TeachSport. They were joined in Rome by Stuart Spear and Zoe Evans from the oncology physiotherapy team, who were on hand for support along the way.
Their fellow participants were from Spain, Greece, Italy, Poland and Bulgaria. They all took part in various challenges, including Nordic walking, shot put and a range of running events.
A great moment
Before the Games, Gary spoke about his excitement about taking part.
‘Having survived sepsis, a mini-stroke, and having had palliative radiotherapy on my spine, I feel honoured to be involved in the first Oncology Olympic Games in Rome,’ he said. ‘I can't guarantee I'll win anything, but I will do my best and enjoy being involved in one of the best moments of my life.
‘My fundraising is to show my support for Guy’s Cancer, so that they can carry on their work and help other people in the way they have helped me.’