A towering thanks to Guy’s Cancer
Graham Collis was diagnosed with a form of bone marrow cancer four years ago and is currently being treated at the Cancer Centre at Guy’s. His wife Dannielle and her best friend Kim Taylor are taking on Guy’s Urban Challenge this September to say thanks for his care.
Graham’s cancer, also known as multiple myeloma, can be treated, but unfortunately not cured. The diagnosis was totally unexpected for the couple and their children Cameron, then aged 15 and Charlotte who was 11.
Dannielle recalls, ‘It was a total shock. We hadn’t even heard of multiple myeloma, and then to be told there isn’t a cure, that turned our whole world upside down. But with two kids, you have to stay positive and strong.
‘Graham has also had cancer-related kidney problems, and last year he was diagnosed with prostate cancer too. But he still remains positive and upbeat and doesn’t let life get him down. When he came home from a six-to-seven-week hospital stay after he was first diagnosed, he said that he had forgotten how lovely the trees were, and that people shouldn’t take the simple things for granted. Even his chemo nurse says he is always smiling and joking.’
Dannielle and Kim’s Urban Challenge
Guy’s Urban Challenge is a unique 'urban triathlon' which involves a 2.4 km run around Guy's Hospital, then a 15 km spin on a state-of-the-art Wattbike, followed by a 29-floor climb to the top of Europe's tallest hospital building, Guy's Tower.
But Dannielle isn’t doing the ‘classic’ triathlon. Having taken on the challenge once before in 2017, she is bringing her best friend Kim along to tackle the ultra version, which is a 5km run, then an 18km spin on the Wattbike, and finally, the many steps of the 29-floor climb to the top of Guy’s Tower.
Despite this massive effort, Dannielle says it’s just a small way to say thanks for Graham’s continued care.
‘Graham has been treated at Guy’s for over four years, it feels like a second home sometimes. He feels he wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for their staff like his clinical nurse specialist in myeloma, Grace Millner, who has been amazing and such a great support to both of us. We think the world of her and his haematology consultant Dr Matthew Streetly.
‘We wanted to give something back to Guy’s for all the care and treatment they have given Graham over the last four years and will continue to do so for the rest of his life. It’s just a small way of saying thank you .’ She says.
Both Dannielle and Kim have been affected by cancer, and they hope the money raised will go towards funding further research, to help more families like theirs.
Guy’s Urban Challenge will take place on Saturday, 28 September 2019. As well as the triathlon activities, there will be a free all-day festival with lots of fun things including food, drink and entertainment.
If you’ve been inspired by Dannielle’s story and would like to take part next year, then please put your email address in the box below to receive information on Guy’s Urban Challenge 2020.
Lead photo: Dannielle and Graham